I came from a meeting with the CSR manager at a major national company today and it blew my mind. The NFP partner they’ve been working with (this is a huge national charity you’d all know) turned up to the annual review and basically asked, “So how much more money are you going to give us this coming year?” When asked about what additional value the charity would create, there was kind of an awkward silence and a blank stare.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some phenomenal NFPs in my work in community investment, but I must stay that’s not a stunning example of one!! BUT – I think we owe it to our community partners to really bring them on the journey of shared value and strategic alignment.
Especially when we’re talking about corporations with long history of chequebook philanthropy and non-strategic, cash-only sponsorships, I don’t think it’s fair to presume the NFP partners will get discipline around the whole strategic alignment thing even before we ourselves in corporations do. As we evolve our approach, I think we have to help bring our trusted, long-term partners on the journey with us, rather than just assume they’ll ‘get it’.

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