For some, giving back is a personal experience, finding small ways to positively impact the world in their daily lives. For others, it’s part of their business mission, using profits to contribute to charitable organizations and causes. And for one unique individual, Maggie Keenan, Ed.D., it’s her profession and life’s work to provide philanthropic strategies that teach businesses effective ways of giving back that benefit their communities — and the world — in authentic and actionable ways.
Through her work at Giving Advice™, Maggie guides businesses through a Six Step Giving IMPACT Strategy model™ to provide a blueprint and giving strategy that is personalized for each client. Her focus and determination helps businesses make stronger and more synergistic connections between their business and causes, and she has attracted clients all over the world through her passion and vision for what she sees possible for their contribution to the world. With an uncanny ability to connect ideas, people and causes, Maggie sees opportunities all around for anyone that desires to be a force for change.
How do you define for-profit philanthropy?
The best way I can describe it is either:
a) Business (For-Profits) who engage in giving back as a part of their business model
b) Businesses who benefit beyond the bottom line from their giving program(s)
How do you suggest business’s communicate the impact of these efforts to your customers?
I explain how to effectively incorporate a philanthropic strategy into your business and communications plan as part of the Wells Fargo “Business Insights” series, entitled “Marketing Philanthropy.” It discusses proper marketing and communication techniques for sharing your philanthropic vision and results with internal constituents, employees and customers. The video will be very beneficial for your business audience in learning the importance and mechanics of implementing a successful giving back program.
Why do you think it’s important for companies to adopt philanthropy as part of their revenue model?
I don’t think it’s important for businesses to adopt philanthropy as a part of their “revenue” model. That mentality doesn’t work well with a philanthropy model. It is, however, a benefit on many levels. But, if businesses employ giving from a revenue-generating perspective, again, it’s short-term, short-sighted and would never be “bought into” by employees, stakeholders, customers, community, etc… enough for it to be sustainable.
What would you say is the most critical element in successfully implementing philanthropic endeavors?
There is not just one critical element. There are at least 6 (based on my 6 Step Giving I.M.P.A.C.T Strategy™) and for any business’ giving program to be successful, ALL elements MUST be integrated. There is no other way to get around it, and if someone says different, they may be able to show success in one area of the business but not in multiple areas. It would be like tying a running shoe up and missing several holes to loop the lace through, and still expecting the shoe to hold up for a run.
In that case, what do you think are the key components that make a philanthropic campaign successful?
From page 107 of my book, Small Businesses Give Big: Why charitable giving is a great business strategy, I write that there are 5 success strategies to building a successful giving program.
The program/campaign must be:
Authentic: Your giving story and message is true to your core values, not what someone else is doing.
Aligned: Your cause(s) are aligned with what is important to you and your business, not what the most popular color awareness ribbon is.
Asset conscious: Your asset strengths define how you give and can set you apart from others. Think beyond the checkbook approach.
Anchored: Your giving program is a reflection of unwavering, steadfastness to solving social issues, and your business is energized by it.
Action: Give and give consistently. Do not take your eye off what you see possible for the world.
Name: Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D.
Title: Founder and Chief Giving Strategiest
Company: Giving Advice