In her blog The Philanthropic Family, Sharon Schneider discusses the merits of Product (RED) and its new music service, as well as the controversy over embedded giving. You can make your own judgments, but I like embedded giving because it is sustainable and provides a predictable stream of revenue for philanthropies. If you’re a CFO at a philanthropy, predictable revenue makes life easier.
She also points out the business benefits of Strategic Corporate Philanthropy. In a nutshell, this refers to a company providing its products/services/expertise to a community non-profit. This is not only great Corporate Social Responsibility policy, it’s a great marketing tool as well. It works because non-profits tend to be deeply ingrained into the fabric of their community and often have patrons and board members that may be qualified buyers of their benefactor’s products and services.
The agency I work for recently developed a website to support the activities of a well known non-profit. Providing these services allowed us near-the-top billing as a sponsor for our in-kind donation, generated some great publicity for us and maybe even helped with our name recognition in the right circles. Not to mention it made us feel great.