Associational Funding

Responsible corporations are funding good work around the world, but especially in local communities where they do business.  Giving to organizations with members that do business with you just makes good sense for any company.  It is a good way to say “thank you” to customers and a good way to attract new customers.  The connection with a social network of any group and positive reputation through the network can build brand loyalty and satisfy the desire for companies that are doing well to also do good.

Even when members of an organization don’t have the resources to add a great deal to the financial bottom line of a company, the connection still contributes to social benefit goals of the company. If their work is known and appreciated in the larger community, this builds good will with citizens aware of the funding provided.  Many grant foundations now require nonprofit organizations to collaborate with each other to make services more efficient.  This ties small organizations with larger ones and groups serving different neighborhoods together.

If a group of 20-30 people can help a corporation achieve its community involvement goals, an organization of 300 members may be given priority in receiving funds from a concerned corporate sponsor.  Now imagine an association of 100 nonprofit organizations with an average membership of 50-100 members each.  Corporations are willing to grant larger gifts as a partner with the association. Gifts directed toward an association of organizations also hold greater promise of social return due to the cooperation of groups to coordinate efforts and avoid duplication.

Assuming social ties are meaningful in an association of nonprofits, the company benefits more from a larger network of groups.  When the association includes customers of the company, there is even more incentive to support the missions represented by groups in the association. Social networks are valuable to any marketing plan.  Greater trust within the network increases its value as a resource for word of mouth marketing.

The time has come for community benefit organizations to band together and recognize the value of their extended network of combined membership.  This multimillion dollar asset can be used to fund every good cause represented in the association. Social connections are to be treated as sacred. The best intentions of those who have gathered to do good can be supported from profits earned in the neighborhoods where they live.

Many word of mouth marketing systems have been established by different corporations to build their customer base.  Few marketing systems have been designed to nurture the social capital of neighborhoods and communities providing customers. With careful attention to community values and relationships, an association of groups can be created that is held together by mutual benefit and shared financial support.

Develop a cooperative association in your community that will help each group serve the community better and increase the amount of funding available.  Structures now exist for an association to direct corporate funding without the need to write a grant, pass legislation or request donations. Let’s learn to use the invisible assets already existing among us.