Businesses Supporting Non-Profits

Spokane businesses looking for ways to broaden and better their community presence and influence
will find hundreds of community resources and volunteer opportunities in Spokane County on this website.  This database diminishes the difficulty for businesses to choose charitable or nonprofit organizations to sponsor, donate, or give volunteer service to.  
      
“According to a study by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, 90 percent of small businesses support local charitable organizations and nonprofits. Cause-related marketing not only increases awareness of your own company, it also increases awareness for organizations you care about.”   “Charityable Giving,” American Business Magazine, April 11, 2012   http://www.americanbusinessmag.com/2012/04/charityable-giving/

It is easy to assume that Spokane’s non-profits are well-equipped to take care of all those in need due to their profitable fundraisers, large government contributions, and access to many regional social services.  However, in today’s economy, there are far more people in need, and many of these organizations have seen a reduction in private and business donations, as well as government funding.

As our community faces increased challenges and diminished resources, philanthropy is crucial. Non-profits are often more effective than other organizations in getting aid directly to people who need it most.  As nonprofits receive monetary and proprietary donations, they are able to work directly with needy persons or institutions advancing human welfare.   (NOTE:  The number of hungry families in Washington grew from about 88,000 to 163,000 from 2008 to the end of 2011, placing it above the national average, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Sept. 2012 stats.  Associated Press)

Spokane’s nonprofit sector is involved in service from Spokane to regional, national and international aid.  Whether local or international, getting employees involved in a company's efforts to be socially responsible is empowering.  Everyone understands what it means to be poor theoretically; but, unless you see it firsthand, it is only intellectual.  Actual participation in service takes it from intellectual to actual, and that is when people start to change.  Those who step into the world of service develop meaningful relationships, influence others, and make a difference.   

Companies should consider partnering with nonprofit organizations that work on projects throughout the year, in order to ensure their effort is meaningful, long-lasting, and does not cause the poor to stop trying to take care of themselves. 

Service strengthens the family and the community.  Research suggests that our brains are wired to serve others, producing volunteers who are happier, healthier and more prosperous than those who do not serve others.  Our own pain, sorrow, loneliness and burdens become lighter as we assist those in greater need than ourselves.  We quickly put our problems in perspective as a consequence of heightened awareness toward others in need.  As  service strengthens families, it also strengthens communities; and strong communities have less crime, less poverty, and more self-sufficient citizens.   

Statistics

The Chronicle of Philanthropy released a study of charitable giving based on the itemized deductions on tax forms in 2008.  The results were clear:

  • Households earning $50-75,000 per year gave an average of 7.6% of their discretionary income to charity nationwide.  Those making more than $100,000 gave only 4.2%.  In other words, the more people make, the less they share. 
  • However, there was an interesting twist in this study.  Wealthy people who live in zip codes with people less fortunate than themselves give a larger percentage to charity than those who live among the wealthy. 
  • People who work for philanthropic organizations say the rich can become suddenly generous when made aware of suffering around them. 

    "One great reason why the rich in general have so little sympathy for the poor is because they so seldom visit them.  Hence it is that, according to the common observation, one part of the world does not know what the other suffers."   (John Wesley, 18th century) 

    Even in philanthropy, class divisions tend to reinforce ignorance and prejudices; but direct involvement of individuals (employees, students, families...) can help break down barriers.  Human interaction is an antidote which can remove the borders between the rich and the poor.