The Big Business of Caring
Nonprofits are big business with big dollars attached. With Susan G. Komen claiming ownership of the color pink and trademarking the slogan "for the Cure" (thus preventing any other nonprofits from being accidentally or unknowingly affiliated with Susan G. Komen for the Cure), the picture of nonprofit organizations as corporate dollar-generating entities comes more clearly into focus. These folks, kind and caring as they may be, are not messing around. And with the fundraising dollars pouring in, nonprofit efforts to build their brands and send resounding "thank-yous" to their supporters have become increasingly important.
Even in the midst of economic recovery, Americans are still giving. The Giving USA Foundation reported in 2009 that even though charitable donations were down 3.6 percent, the dollars given that year were estimated at $303.8 billion. Money like that, even if down a few percentage points, is not to be scoffed at. This is where the distributor sales professional comes in. With every dollar given, every check cashed and every card swiped, a recognition gift is given in return. "It appears that the core trend going on today is the nonprofits' desire to recognize all of those who support them; this involves either their corporate sponsors or their volunteer base," said Christopher Duffy, senior vice president of marketing for Bag Makers, Union, Ill. "In both cases goodwill is guaranteed, their association with the nonprofit secured and the overall message of the nonprofit is strengthened."
Considering a recovery that continues to advance at a snail's pace, there is more urgency than ever for nonprofits to bring in donations. "It seems that nonprofits are feeling the effects of the recession the same way for-profit businesses are," said Michael Shulkin, president of A La Carte, Chicago. "Organizations seem to be working with smaller budgets and are under great pressure to raise funds."