Bruce DeBoskey is a Colorado-based Philanthropic Advisor, helping businesses to develop philanthropic strategies.
He gave up a career as a successful trial lawyer for 25 years to focus on giving. As Bruce describes, he was going to battle each day for things that only mattered to the people involved, until he decided he wanted to be involved in something with a broader impact.
Now he encourages businesses to to connect their core competencies in their giving. It is advice that all of us can use when it comes to our holiday giving.
WHY WE GIVE All donors need a strategy for their giving, and it should be something in line with what we value. The place to start is your reason for giving; is it theologically based? For ego gratification? Or to create a legacy, so that the things you care about can continue? If you are considering your business' philanthropy, consider your goal. Are you giving to engage employees, to gain customer loyalty or satisfy shareholders? Realize that pleasing shareholders is a legitimate concern for a business. After all, while we all recognize that philanthropy is for the greater good, business is business to make a profit so it is reasonable to invest in your community, your customers, your supply chain to both improve your surroundings and your bottom line. Likewise, unless you can provide evidence to your shareholders that the company's charitable giving impacts the bottom line, you have failed your fiduciary duty.
HOW WE GIVE
The options for making charitable contributions are innumerable.
One way to narrow things down is a Giving Circle. ( http://www.givingcircles.org/) There are 800 Giving Circles in the United States and about a dozen in Colorado alone. The Giving Circle is a way to come together and make a greater impact by researching topics and investing with others.
Families can determine their giving as a part of their holiday traditions. DeBoskey suggests looking around your home to determine if you and your children have enough stuff. If you find that you do, consider foregoing a holiday gift exchange and pool the money you would otherwise spend and give it to a worthy cause. Make it a family discussion of your values and determine what cause becomes a part of your family mission.
Bruce DeBoskey writes about giving at The Denver Post in his weekly column "On Philanthropy". You can learn more about philanthropy with a purpose at www.deboskeygroup.com.