Companies and individuals are increasingly approaching global and domestic issues in a new way. The days of simply cutting a check to support a charity have changed. Since the issues and challenges we face today are global, individuals and companies are choosing to not just give to people in need, but to invest in helping others and address issues around the world.
The difference between giving and investing lies both in the expectations and the results. Where giving may end with the check being cut, investing requires an ROI. Giving is largely measured in outputs (i.e., # of books donated), whereas investing is more concerned with outcomes (percent of women moving out of poverty as a result of education).
Kiva.org is a great example of individuals investing in the efforts of people around the world as they try to pull themselves and their families out of poverty. In the corporate world, ITT (a Cone client) is investing in sustainable water solutions in communities to increase child success through education, while decreasing absentee days due to illness and unhealthful sanitation experiences. ITT has a three+ year measurement system in place to track this social investment.
Five years ago, companies would give money to help build a school somewhere in the world. Today, they are investing not only in the school building, but in the development of the children who will benefit from the school. Investing is sustainable and will help drive true social change.
How about you? What do you think?
-- Jeff Terry, Former Vice President, Cause Branding