Ms. Smart E. Pants: Giving back to the community


A: Dear Teresa,

There are so many ways to find a viable and worthy charity.

Start with determining what is most important to you and your corporation. Children? Environment? Learning? Any specific medical conditions or illnesses? Perhaps your neighbor’s son has autism or your father passed away from brain cancer. If you are still uncommitted, then ask your coworkers or employees about the charities that they are involved in or support. For instance, my daughter is disabled with a birth related brain injury. A co-worker, who originally worked in neurobiology, started a charity for kids like her and her disabled friends. The charity provides valuable medical care that remains unsupported in the US, but changes the lives of these kids.

By asking your staff or coworkers you gain greater loyalty and camaraderie from them. They become advocates within your organization and embrace the charity. Their enthusiasm is infectious. You might suddenly have a critical mass of enthusiasm for everyone to be more active in your chosen charity as a social outlet.

In today’s tight economy, perhaps a business strategy is to support a charity that mutually benefits your own business. For instance, if you work in shoe manufacturing, why not get involved with a charity that recycles shoes for the needy? If you are in construction, check into charities that rebuild communities. If you are in pharmaceuticals or provide health care, share you expertise with those without healthcare. When you find a charity that works with your organization, it becomes newsworthy. The public should know about your contributions to the community. Write a press release to get your company exposure. Use your imagination.

Sometimes, you can give a great deal to charities at no cost to you or your company. For example, when supporters are purchasing from they can go to CHERISH Foundation, click through to Amazon, and a percentage of everything they purchased is donated to CHERISH at no cost to the buyer. Imagine if you were able to direct 100 employees or families to your favorite charity at no cost to them!

Also, there is a company called iGive that does the same thing for hundreds of Internet companies. Have your employees and coworkers sign up on for your supported charity and every time they purchase something on the Internet they will be donating to their favorite charities and yours at no cost to either of you.

You may not know it, but your corporation may be solicited by local charities as well. Ask your receptionist or your human resources department who in the organization receives calls for funding or volunteers. Research them. They may just be the answer your company’s charitable efforts.

Lastly, there are various websites that list charities. Like iGive, GuideStar lists and reviews charities for you. These websites post a variety of charities; search by location, type or size that best fits you and your company.

As you narrow your charities down to a few good ones, contact the charity’s board of directors to learn how involved they are, and how or where they need assistance with the charity. They are the pulse of the nonprofit world. Charity boards make the decisions.

If you are looking for a charity to get involved with while at a destination, do local research. Read the local newspaper to find local charities that are hosting events or advertising. Contact local government officials to learn what local charities need assistance. The CVB and your selected property are also excellent resources to help you arrange a “giving back” opportunity.


Ms. Smart E. Pants


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