Building effective relationships matters


On either side of the Atlantic, the wisdom you get to build relationships with your donors is interesting to learn. This came  true when  Professor Ian Bruce, President, Center for Charity Effectiveness at London’s Cass Business School talked about the theory and practice of building effective relationships.

According to Prof. Bruce, successful relationship building has four components: establishing relationships, strengthening relationships, customer appreciation and relationship strategies. In American terms,  this  means relationship building, stewardship and ongoing donor communications.

You scan your environment to seek out the most influential people interested in your cause. Engage them well, pay close attention to their needs and consider them the most important people in your network. Prof. Bruce advises that you must be ready to talk about the negative things that are  happening at your organization and how you are trying to fix them. What are the pillars that need to be strengthened?

Often, most of us forget the common sense initiatives we need to take to build relationships. This includes reliability (deliver what you promised), responsiveness (give prompt service always), assurance (convey trust and confidence), empathy (a caring attitude), and  always make sure  that you provide the best tangible experience of your assets.

Sometimes, giving up top spots allotted to your  CEO or leadership to high value customers will help strengthen relationships. According to Prof. Bruce, this will help you build financial and social bonding with your high value customer.

His highly acclaimed book “Charity Marketing: Delivering Income, Campaigns and Services,” elaborates on the theory and practice of building effective nonprofit marketing strategies.

Global Corporate Gifts Get a Definition


If you are a recipient of  a corporate gift from a Fortune 2000 company at the global level, read the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) guidelines.  CECP’s “The Global Guide to What Counts,” for the first time defines eligible charitable donations across borders. International tax professionals at Deloitte rigorously examined tax laws and related conventions of 17 countries to find out what makes up a charitable gift.

They concluded that any recipient of a corporate charitable gift must meet the following criteria:

  1. The recipient must be formally organized, meaning it should be recognized as a legal entity in the country where it is headquartered. Individuals and ad hoc groups that lack structure are ineligible.
  2. The recipient must exist for a charitable purpose, meaning charity should be its primary purpose. The Guide excludes political parties, business and professional associations, unions and religious entities, except those that fund charitable activities that fall under CECP guidelines.
  3. The recipient must never distribute profits, meaning it should reinvest in achieving the organization’s mission.

The Guide addresses a uniform definition of what constitutes a corporate charitable gift. The yardsticks are similar to those proposed by large Foundations in the United States. However, a standardized check list for charitable entities seeking global corporate gifts is very useful. It creates a level playing field, sort of United Nations for recipients seeking charitable corporate gifts across borders.

The Global Guide tactically avoids religion, politics, labor unions, associations and chambers of commerce. Some of these indulge in corrupt practices, especially in developing countries. However, it offers broad flexibility in defining a recipient of a charitable gift and gives a larger degree of latitude for charitable entities to compete for corporate gifts. Religious organizations that have far-reaching impact on grassroots philanthropy are given some opportunities to seek charitable gifts.  The complete guidelines are available here.