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Philanthropy: Going beyond the checkbook

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Many Oregon companies are looking beyond their checkbooks to find creative ways to give. Here are some ideas for supporting local nonprofits:

In-kind contributions. Rather than providing actual cash, your organization can fulfill its philanthropic mission by donating physical goods or services to a local nonprofit. They include:

  • Products or services that are the basis of your business. For example, a restaurant may cater food at no charge for a nonprofit’s special event, a printing company may print the event program for free, and so on.

  • Building, construction and manufacturing industries can contribute labor or materials toward the expansion of nonprofit facilities or for specific construction projects.

  • Used office equipment. As businesses upgrade office equipment, items still in good working order are often welcome donations.

  • Bulk supplies. Become a partner with a local nonprofit organization and offer to add its need for bulk office supplies to your next order.

Employee volunteerism.

Many businesses make a difference by encouraging employees to volunteer for the organizations and causes that they care about.

  • Encourage employees to participate in volunteer work by offering paid time off.

  • Small nonprofits can be short on skilled staff that perform essential tasks such as legal, administration, bookkeeping and writing. Con-sider “loaning” your employees with particular abilities to an organization in need.

  • In association with employee volunteerism, you may want to consider a matching gift program that pledges a corporate donation that matches with hours volunteered or an employee’s financial donation to a specific cause.


Sponsorships can bring visibility and alignment with a good cause. Develop a plan that addresses how and when your organization will choose to be a sponsor, including what your obligations and benefits will be.  

By taking a new approach to corporate giving, your organization can develop strong partnerships that can make a positive impact.

— Greg Chaillé
president, Oregon Community Foundation

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