Financing Philanthropy: Time, Talent, Treasures

money jar

Philanthropy is more than writing a check.


Excitedly I registered for a seminar on Strategic Philanthropy this week. I’m marshaling my entrepreneurship efforts and, I thought, I’d learn best practices for allocating a portion of my profits to a cause near to my heart. When I left the 2-hour session lead by Rick Swanson of Learning Meets Quality, I was the one that left with more riches than I imagined. Through Rick’s leadership the participants in the room, schools, businesses, and non-profits, learned an important lesson. Philanthropy is about more than writing a check. In fact, Rick’s lesson extends a common theme from my place of worship.

During each new budget year we have a stewardship campaign that funds the operations and mission of my religious community. We’re asked to dedicate not only our treasures (money), but our time (volunteerism), and talent (expertise) as well. With Rick’s permission I’d like to share these lessons with you. (Psst…if you’re interested Rick runs the Strategic Philanthropy sessions for free.)

The session started with a look at the goals we have for philanthropy from BOTH the non-profit and the business’ perspective.

Public Relations

  • Business: You desire a partner with a positive presence to leverage through media and/or public relations events.
  • Non-Profit: To attract a partner document your positive presence in the community.


  • Business: You seek a natural connection and comfortable working relationship with a partner who is well-connected in the community. In a tactful way you hope to leverage the partner’s connection with their community.
  • Non-Profit: Position yourself as well-connected in your community, show that you have positive working relationships with your donors/volunteers, and demonstrate your desire to connect the business to your community in a tactful manner.
  • For the relationship to work both business and non-profit need to be able to articulate their core values. If you are have not discovered your core values, drop me a line at SDJ Marketing Solutions for a consulting session.


  • Business: You are looking for a non-profit who is able to use your financial contributions, expertise, or volunteer hours.
  • Non-profit: Show that you have a well thought out plan to use your partner’s resources and a strong volunteer management program.


  • Business: You want an outlet for your members, volunteers, sponsors, and clients to smile and have fun.
  • Non-profit: Document through pictures, videos, and testimonials the fun factor of your facility or events.


  • Business: As an owner you want to work with a business that you know can “stand on its own two feet.”
  • Non-profit: Demonstrate your organization is mature enough to operate independently and ensure all your communications reflect your independence.


  • Business: You expect a reciprocal commitment of time between your organization and the non-profit organization for planning and relationship building. (Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly)
  • Non-profit: Fulfill your commitment to spend time with your partner and keep your partner accountable for his/her commitment as well.

You might notice the acronym in different ways an entrepreneur (even a solo-preneur like me) is able to contribute to philanthropic efforts. It’s more than PROFIT. In addition to financial support (treasures) I am working my time and talent (volunteerism, seminars, training, etc.) into my business plan.

How has this post changed the way you think about being involved in philanthropy? I’d love to hear from you.

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One thought on “Financing Philanthropy: Time, Talent, Treasures

  1. Thank you for the nice comments, Soma. I’m happy to say that I, too, have set up a Strategic Philanthropy conversation with one of the other attendees for later this week. I hope others will report new partnerships that they have formed.

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