Monday, December 12, 2005

Corporate Giving

A friend recently commented in passing about giving up shopping at certain stores because of where they give money. That got me thinking...things are always more complicated than you think.

I used to work at a "small" software company out of Redmond, Washington. In my local office we were giving a certain budget every year for donations. While the lady in charge was on maternity leave, I got to be in charge of giving....let me tell you about it.

We took requests for software from any 501C3 (with the exception of alumni associations and strictly religious organizations--although if they had an outreach arm it was fine) in our 4 state area. Then we looked through and saw what they wanted and ordered it. We rarely turned anyone a lot of where our money went was to the people who knew to ask. Some were groups I'd never give a penny to, but others I loved and wished they had asked for more. We even got a few larger grants each year, and one went to the Denver Street School.

Then there are matching gifts. Basically, corporations match what you give to a charity of your choice. So, when I donated to the DSS or to Alternatives Pregnancy Center, they matched. And when my liberal friend donated to a lousy cause, they matched that too.

It's easy to boycott based on basic numbers, but if you do more research, you might find that these places donate to many different organizations. Maybe they do deserve to be boycotted, but maybe they don't. Just a thought...but maybe they are made up of people...some of which make bad choices and some of which make good. I guess I'm just not planning to jump on any boycotting bandwagons until I know a little more about their policies.


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