You would think it would be hard to find someone who argues against giving money to charity. Yet charities are often under intense scrutiny from their critics who argue that their money doesn’t go where they say it will, or that their programmes are not effective in solving the problems they claim to be tackling.
This is important for businesses because giving to charity can be hugely effective in positively driving social changes and boosting social impact, but all the above criticisms do have some merit. So you need to know your money is going to a good place if you want to see your social impact climb.
Is charitable giving effective?
This question is very subjective and will vary from charity to charity and social issue to social issue. It’s hard to measure ‘effectiveness’ in charities as a lot of the work they do doesn’t always rely on quantifiable items. They can deal in infrastructure, cash vouchers, education, or happiness, but you always deal in money. All these come with vast social impacts, but not all are easy to measure. What we can measure is how much of your money goes towards your desired cause.
Many of the big-name charities have similar breakdowns. Still, people call for more transparency with charity spending, particularly for operational costs and their programmes.
The good work charities do
While charities are always under extreme scrutiny, there is value to the work they do. People are quick to pick up on the negative aspects of charity work but slow to come up with solutions to the problems or highlight the good work they do.
If you want your business’s charitable giving to go a long way (and boost your social impact generation), there are precautions you can take to ensure your money is doing amazing things:
Give to smaller, local charities
When you give to huge, multinational charities, it’s hard to track where your money has gone or who it’s helping. In turn, this makes it difficult to see how your donation affects the social impact generation of your business. Instead, you can donate your funds to a much smaller, local charity where the links between your business and the beneficiaries of your donation are much more evident.
You’ll be able to see the direct impact of your donation. This doesn’t mean you can only donate locally. If your business operates abroad, you can consider giving directly to local charities in these areas, or to businesses in these areas in ways you know will directly support the local community there.
Don’t give money, give opportunities
While monetary donations are effective for things like emergency aid and equipment fundraising, they’re less effective as a long-term solution to particular problems as they can lead to dependency. Recipients may become dependent on donations to fight the challenge you’re responding to. Instead of donating money, consider offering people opportunities.
This could come in the form of training courses run by your organisation, boosting education. Or you could invest in infrastructure or long-lasting items to fight your cause. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and… you get the picture. This way, you know where your money is going, how long your investments will last, and the impact they’re having. It’s a much easier way to keep track of and boost your social impact.
Giving money to charity can boost your social impact, providing the money goes where you want it to and the charity is ethical and good at what they do. You can’t always be sure of this. Often, it’s better to tackle your social causes by providing investments that your beneficiaries want and ask for which will last long into the future. That is the best way to ensure your social impact is a good one.
Impact helps you keep track of the good work your business is doing by making hard-to-measure things like social impact easy to turn into useful data. You can quantify your impact using our platform with just a few clicks so everyone in your business knows exactly how valuable your business is to the community.