Corporate charity increases public appeal, so introducing mandatory donations an obvious choice

Nonprofits cannot rely on college-age students for monetary donations, so a helping hand from high demand companies would go a long way

· Oct 24, 2017 Tweet

Jason Chan/The Badger Herald

When it comes to making an immediate impact, money is king. Donating time is valuable and has its personal merits, but when given the choice between supervising volunteers or receiving a charitable donation, organizations will likely choose the latter. This is not because the work of a volunteer is useless or burdensome, but rather because the dollar can be immediately transformed into a tangible, sometimes permanent impact.

Since the pockets of college students are — the majority of the time — barren, organizations that need their assistance cannot rely on them for financial support. Instead, in order to compensate for that demographic’s inability to donate consistently, nonprofits are tasked with devising events or fundraisers that require no monetary contribution from students, and instead use a larger corporation to fundraise on their behalf — think Shooting Down Cancer.

These projects are entirely effective and engage students to take action without soliciting money from them directly. It’s nearly a perfect system. But it can be improved with an elegantly simple solution – instead of offering merchandise or monetary bonuses with a purchase, companies and properties should make donations on the student’s behalf.

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Rather than gifting students a pair of brand new headphones with the purchase of a laptop from the DoIT Tech Store, the tech branch should reallocate those funds and donate even a small sum to local charities. Rather than offer tenants a $1000 signing bonus for renewing a lease, property managers should offer to donate to the tenant’s charity of choice following their signature.

This will create two main outcomes. First, the reputation of the given organization will change for the better, as organizations who are committed to charity are preferential among millennials, according to a 2016 poll conducted by business media outlet Fortune. This business model is as typical a “two birds, one stone” situation as imaginable. By boosting their reputation to a company that values the community they’re in, said company’s public image shines bright, a must-have for any growing business. Secondly, perhaps more morally focused, the community benefits from the flow of donations as nonprofits now have a new stream of income they can use to benefit their cause.

While this notion may seem abstract, there is merit to its potential. “Creating shared value” is a concept first introduced by The Harvard Business Review that creates a link between competitive advantage amongst companies, and corporate social responsibility. “For great brands, [Creating shared value] doesn’t simply draw upon the company’s innovation capabilities.  CSV uses the power of the company’s brand to inspire change and produce an overall beneficial impact on society,” Harvard Business Review author Denise Lee Yohn said.

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While implementing this concept for campus companies may occur on a much smaller scale, there is no lower limit restricting the impact of this sociological concept.

There is empirical evidence to suggest that companies dedicated to their communities are more appealing to consumers. While there are a litany of methods to making a corporation attractive, this is undoubtedly the most beneficial to local communities. By creating a new stream of funding through the purchase of goods and services widely used by college students, companies would effectively avoid the challenge of unsuccessfully soliciting funds from an age demographic with little to give. This is a simple strategy, and one that could do wonders for both the consumer and the supplier.

Lucas Johnson ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in journalism.


This article was published Oct 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm and last updated Oct 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm


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