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From Cash to In-Kind

Monday, October 10, 2011 @ 9:54:00 AM - Written by Laura Cootsona - 1 comments
In late August, the New York Times reported about the changes in corporate giving under the title "A Philanthropic Recession." Of course this headline in the business day caught my attention. The organization that they highlighted was called Operation Hope who depended in great part on the financial generosity of Wall Street firms for its stockpile of donations. The article starkly reminds readers that although some will say that the financial sector is recovering, many companies are rethinking their giving strategy as they return to "normal." Many firms have limited the number of recipients of funds focusing on ones that best match their own mission. Others have stopped gift-matching programs.

One alternative has emerged out of the ashes…volunteering. "Rather than bankroll expensive projects, some financial firms are offering their employees' billable time, reflecting a broader corporate trend. Nonprofits are receiving a flood of so-called in-kind contributions…" Many questions emerge with such an article. Is this shift actually happening? Are you getting calls from people interested in giving time and not money? Is this a corporate Wall Street-only trend or more widespread? Answers will vary on these questions, but one conviction remains. In this downturn, and for many reasons, highly skilled people may want to give you time and their talent instead of cash. Can you adjust to use their skill? Make use of their energy? And wait out the slow recovery to normal or a new normal? In-kind is not going away. Your retooling to take advantage of great talent will be an investment in the future.