Marketing effort aims to boost Triangle giving

Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. — An alliance spearheaded by Triangle Community Foundation is calling on individuals and organizations in the region to increase their charitable giving and make it more effective, and is launching a marketing push and new website to spur those changes.

Known as “Triangle Gives Back,” the effort aims to move beyond the “choir” to people and groups who have not given before, and to encourage givers to be more strategic, says Andrea Bazán, president of the foundation.

“We will be successful if we get the entire region involved,” she says.

Research the initiative released last fall shows that despite the Triangle’s rapid growth, giving in the region lags that of peer communities.

“In order to ensure that our region works for everyone, we all need to do more,” the initiative’s new “Call to Action” says.

The report recommends steps nonprofits, foundations, corporations, faith groups and colleges and universities can take to expand and improve their charitable work. For example:

* Corporations should consider matching employee giving, providing employees opportunities and paid time off to volunteer, and giving a percentage of sales, profits or pre-tax earnings in charitable giving.

* Foundations, despite the fall in the value of their endowments resulting from the decline in the economy, should consider giving a bigger share of their assets than they are required to give each year, typically 5 percent, and collaborating “in the ways we recommend nonprofits do to ensure that our grant dollars continue to have the maximum impact possible.”

* Religious groups can help organized philanthropy better understand religious giving by “adopting practices of calculating and communicating information about giving that has an impact beyond their congregation.”

* Colleges and universities should encourage employees to give back, connect research and share faculty and staff expertise with local nonprofits, and help place students in “service-learning” projects.

* Individuals should serve as role models for young people and help make giving part of their lives.

* Nonprofits should build relationships with current and potential donors, tell their stories and show their impact, collaborate more, and consider consolidations, mergers or other partnerships.

* All givers should support nonprofits’ general operations so “the organizations we believe in can use those gifts in the way that best meet their needs.”

In a region that is a “scattered collection of increasingly diverse and mobile communities,” giving is critical for “creating a sustainable region,” the report says. “Giving and community are linked.”

A new website at, developed by Capstrat, will let individuals list their interests and nonprofits list their, and let them connect with one another.

A marketing campaign will promote the initiative.

Triangle Community Foundation, which is spending $100,000 a year for three years on Triangle Gives Back, is spearheading the initiative to promote giving in the region, not raise money for itself, Bazán says.

“This is not a fundraising effort,” she says. “We’re hoping to get more money into the nonprofit community as a result this project. We see it as a project for the community.”

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