- Mon, November 10 2008
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Margaret McKenna of the Wal-Mart Foundation is presenting at Independent Sector right now, and boy is she a pistol. She’s refreshingly irreverent. I’m blogging her remarks live.
She just said Wal-Mart gives away $1 million a day. And they are going to INCREASE their giving next year by 6% to $400 million. (Wal-Mart does well during recessions.) Wow. A lot comes from corporate, but local stores get to give away money too, up to $5,000 grants.
So who is going to get the money? McKenna says: Good programs with good payback – both for a worthy cause and for Wal-Mart.
Regarding good programs, she says, “We’re looking for long-lasting, replicable, scalable impact that is good for our society and for the company– Is this a proposal that, if replicated, would allow us to lower the dropout late or increase adolescent literacy or alleviate homelessness. Does the person in need get the majority of the money? Then I’ll argue it’s good for us to the corporation.” This year they are looking especially at programs that meet basic human needs. They’re looking to help people in dire straits - not necessarily nonprofits in dire straits.
Make sure your initiative is aligned with the key initiative of the company. Do your homework and tell the right story to the right person.
Regarding payback, McKenna says, “If you come to us, tell us how the company will be recognized. And I don’t mean ask us to arrive at a press conference with a big cardboard check. I won’t do it. I mean, when these kids graduate, I want Wal-Mart to be recognized.” Payback can take a number of forms. Companies want to enhance their reputation, retain employees and build skills among their staff.
Stephanie Bell-Rose of the Goldman Sachs Foundation seconded this by citing a McKinsey study that noted companies look to meet their business goals through their philanthropy. Companies are looking to align their philanthropy to address the social issues/trends that directly affect their businesses.
Remember, it’s about the company winning as much as you win. Especially duing a recession!