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Giving Your Genius: A New Approach to Corporate Philanthropy

July 18th, 2017

When we think about corporate philanthropy—the allocation of company resources for public benefit—we often limit our definition of resources to employee time, money, and product. But how valuable are these resources, actually, to social sector organisations?

Just because your consulting firm can charge Fortune 100 companies $1,000 an hour doesn’t mean your advice will be useful to the executive director of a small community-based organization. Just because your product has brought in billions of dollars in consumer revenue doesn’t mean it will be useful or valuable to the social sector.

There is a better way. Corporations pursuing philanthropy should view nonprofits as customers; the products or services they develop should address nonprofits’ particular needs and fit into their unique processes. By deploying the same processes they use to create commercial value to create philanthropic value, companies can truly help charities achieve their social missions. At our predictive analytics company, Uptake, we call this “giving our genius.” Unlike traditional philanthropy, where companies measure success by the amount of resources they give away, we measure it by how much value we create for our charity partners—how much public benefit we create—in a way that’s similar to how we measure our for-profit customer success.

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