Tag Archives: Fundraising

Reflections on Corporate Social Responsibility

In my role at Plant With Purpose, I’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with a number of corporate partners who have very generously supported our work. (When I say “corporate” I have in mind here primarily family-owned business rather than publically traded companies.) We have had, and have, some incredible relationships with companies that have been a great blessing to our work, and a few that have been a bit more challenging. What makes for a healthy partnership between a charity and for-profit company? I’ve been thinking about that this week, and so with that in mind, here are my Six Keys to Healthy CSR Relationships: These relationships work great when there is…

  • A Great fit between companies’ values and that of the charity. This goes beyond the obvious things to avoid such as promoting tobacco, casinos, etc. For us as organization that promotes environmental restoration and sustainable agriculture, it means looking for companies that truly share these values. Some of the values we share with our partners include emphasizing organic products, economic justice, environmental sustainability, empowerment and fairness.
  • Reasonable expectation with regard to promotion. It’s great to celebrate the partnership and put the companies logo and contribution on the website and in the newsletter. But business should recognize that charities are not there to drive product sales. This might seem obvious, but…
  • Trust. This relates to values but goes a bit further and speaks of a willingness to take the partners interests into account when making decisions that will have PR implications for the partner. I once had a partner warn me about some unjustified negative press they were getting that they were concerned might reflect badly on us as a their charity partner. It turned out to be nothing, but I was really grateful that they were concerned and gave us a heads up about it.
  • Honesty about the real impact. Charities are always looking for ways to communicate, and dramatize, the impact of our donor’s gifts. It’s part of what we do to express gratitude and encourage deep and lasting partnerships. With corporate partners we are also coordinating that messaging with their marketing strategy and needs. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the messaging honestly reflects what the charity is able to accomplish with those funds. This need to balance simplicity of message with the reality that development is complex…
  • Corporate program expertise, if appropriate. We were once approached by a company that wanted to build a dam in a country where we work. And they knew how to build dams! But they had no idea how to translate that expertize into a foreign context. In the end, nothing got done, other than waste a lot of time that could have been spent securing funds in a more appropriate way. To give a more positive example, we have had some valuable agricultural training from U.S. experts- the difference was that they were not trying to include us in their money-making venture. If there is appropriate expertize, then that is a bonus to but don’t try too hard to translate a U.S. corporate model into the context of charity’s program.
  • A long-term relationship. It is much healthier for the charity to have consistent, long-term support rather than a big windfall or promises that are never fulfilled. This also gives both sides the opportunity to try different promotions and to test out the partnership. Ideally, both sides benefit and the missions of both the company and the charity are advanced.

This is the first time I’ve tried to write about this topic and I welcome your thoughts and feedback!

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The Vision of Wings of Kilimanjaro

This is a really great video that explains the vision behind the Wings of Kilimanjaro paragliding event and the impact the event will have in Tanzania, including interviews with Adrian and Peter. It’s from the Australian television station Chanelvision. It’s worth watching!

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December 12, 2012 · 6:30 am

Wings of Kilimanjaro: Already Making a Huge Impact in Tanzania

One of the most exciting things that has happened with us this year at Plant With Purpose has been our partnership with Wings of Kilimanjaro to support environmental restoration and poverty elimination in Tanzania. The event is coming up soon in late January, and we are already putting the initial funds that have been raised to work – more than $30,000 so far! Many, many thanks to all of you who have given so generously.

This support has enabled us to expand our programs and, as a result, our partnership is having a positive impact on the lives of struggling farmers. Here is some of what we’ve been able to do with these funds in just the last two months:

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  • 5 Village Community Banks (VICOBA) have been started to help 150 farmers save money and have access to small business loans and training in sustainable agriculture.

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  • 10,000 trees have been planted, with another 30,000 in tree nurseries waiting for the spring rains.

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  • 25 garden beds have been established to improve families’ nutrition and income

This is just the start! Here’s the story of just one of the farmers who is benefitting from our partnership: Fred Kombe is a 63 year old farmer living in Mwika, who recently received seeds and seedling bags from Plant With Purpose to expand his tree nursery into a successful business. Kombe said “My intention is not just to generate income, but also to have a contribution in environmental conservation since I need to play role in Kilimanjaro restoration and bring back the weather and the snow that I saw over 50 years ago.” He added that, “My aspiration is to raise over 50,000 tree seedlings – even up to 100,000 only if I can continue to get training and support.” Plant With Purpose is partnering with thousands of Tanzanian farmers like Kombe to bring healing to their land and prosperity to their communities.

Great job, Wings of Kilimanjaro pilots and to all of you who have given! You are making this work possible.  If you want to join this amazing effort by sponsoring a pilot, follow this link here.

You can also help by sharing the Wings of Kilimanjaro vision this holiday season with anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

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