Businessolver Blog

Demonstrating Empathy through Philanthropy

Demonstrating Empathy through Philanthropy
Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by Carrie Clogg

Businessolver publishes an annual State of Workplace Empathy demonstrating how important it is to the company. 


As reported in the most recent study, “empathy is clearly the competitive edge leaders are missing,” and “93% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer.” In corporate philanthropy, it is presumed we demonstrate empathy in our daily work practices. Empathy is at the core of philanthropy, right? Not always. Many people and corporate entities lack true empathy in their philanthropic practices which often results in mistrust between donors and recipients. Here are three ways to demonstrate empathy through philanthropy.

Be Transparent. When meeting with potential philanthropic partners, it is always better to be completely transparent. Let them know upfront what you fund, do not fund and if your corporation is a good fit for a partner. If you are not, a good practice is to inform the non-profit of other entities that might be a better fit. Make connections for them! This will build trust and create a reputation of helpfulness and empathy instead of, “this company just always says no.”

Create a Space of Openness. Do you have ideas you want to share with a non-profit partner? Do it!  However, be prepared for the partner to not always follow your lead. Non-profits struggle all the time with the temptation to follow the money, but this can often lead to mission creep or creating programs that do not necessarily fit the goals of the organization. This is not an expectation you want to create.

Put Fairness in Front. Foundations are not able to support every ask that comes across their desk. But, are Foundations being fair and empathetic regardless if the answer is yes or no? Foundations should make funding decisions based on their strategic plans and goals which should include policies and procedures around creating equity in funding. Equity in funding means continuing to evaluate if your decisions might have unintended consequences for a group of people or an entity. You might want to consider including an equity statement in your funding plan.   

Businessolver delivers Technology with Heart. This means bringing a full plate of empathy to the table every day and sharing it generously with others. In philanthropy, it means creating a space of fairness, openness and being transparent in funding decisions and engagement activities. Join us in practicing empathy today!     

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