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Feeling Warm And Fuzzy About Giving Is No Longer Enough

Andrew Logan, Partner at Saint John accounting firm Teed Saunders Doyle. Image: submitted.

It makes business sense to contribute to your community; it not only makes you a more attractive employer, it creates future customers and strengthens the local workforce – two things critical to business success.

But to be effective, you have to expect – and demand – results. A charitable donation should be no different from a financial investment; you need to measure your ROI. Feeling warm and fuzzy about giving is no longer enough.

“When the Million Dollar Pledge idea came along, it was pretty much a no-brainer,” says Andrew Logan, Partner at Saint John accounting firm Teed Saunders Doyle.

“Around 2017 we started thinking more about where we invest our charitable giving,” Logan adds, “and, in a sort of selfish way, how this can help our company, while also helping our community. The Saint John United Way was already one of our biggest gives, and the Pledge seemed like a perfect match. We already knew what the United Way was all about, as we are their auditor. They know how to use money to get results. So we were full in.”

Dave Veale of Vision Coaching is one of the main minds behind The Million Dollar Pledge.

“When you make an investment in the stock market,” he explains, “you want to see a return…I believe people also want to see a return on their social impact investment, and the good news is that the United Way – Saint John, Kings & Charlotte can show you the ROI of your donation. This means that you know exactly how your valuable contribution is making a difference in our community.”

“I sincerely believe we have enough money to address some tough problems; we just need to apply the same discipline to charitable giving/granting as we do to other investments,” says Wendy MacDermott, Executive Director of The United Way in Saint John.

“If you find a high-performing company, invest.  As long as it keeps performing, keep investing. If it stops performing and is not likely to produce outcomes, stop investing. Pretty simple, right? If a community organization is delivering great outcomes, and they are outcomes that matter, keep investing. Don’t be a crow looking for the next shiny thing!”

“I need numbers,” adds Logan. “For example, the recent results from Milltown and Black’s Harbour schools were fantastic. They had numbers and were mindful and responsible in providing results. We need hard data, and to hold recipients accountable to a higher standard. It makes them better when the return is measurable.”

The United Way achieves results

The regional United Way recently reported positive outcomes from several funded programs:

  • Women’s Empowerment Network: 80 per cent of women from Sussex and St. Stephen, who grew in poverty, who set employment as a goal, are working 6 months after starting the Power Up program
  • Milltown and Black’s Harbour Elementary Schools: 100 per cent of 70 children improved or maintained their numeracy over the Summer
  • Second Stage: 80 per cent of women who left abusive relationships did not experience any more abuse 12 months after leaving the program.
  • Teen Resource Centre (TRC): 91 per cent of youth in grade 11 who attend the TRC at least three days a week post-secondary education plans.

These are just a few of many examples of programs that are working, with data to prove it.

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