World Affairs Council CEO Explains How a 4-year Commitment Makes an Enormous Difference for a Nonprofit. And for a Donor.



A substantial commitment (minimal $25,000 per year for at least four years) to support the work of a nonprofit organization is valuable for the nonprofit as well as for the donating company or foundation. This significant donation provides the nonprofit with financial stability to plan and increase impact around its mission. The donor has the opportunity to support a cause that has greater impact and accurately measure the effectiveness of the gift. Craig Snyder, one of Philadelphia’s leading nonprofit CEOs, explains.

As President and CEO of one of the region’s highly recognized nonprofit institutions, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Craig fully understands the significance of a multi-year, 5-digit donation.

“A commitment for $25,000 annually for four years, and therefore $100,000 in total, really allows for a kind of intelligent planning that nonprofits are frequently not able to do.”

When given a long-term commitment, the nonprofit can think in terms of a project that has a beginning, middle and end.

“When you have a project that runs for a number of years, you have the ability to do some longitudinal measures. You can see the impact the gift has made.”

The threshold of becoming a major donor 

A donation of the size mentioned above moves the relationship between the for-profit and nonprofit from “I write the check. You cash the check.” to a strategic partnership.

“As a strategic partner, the donor has a plate of options to be involved with the nonprofit. For instance, in many cases the donor will be offered a seat on the board, and can choose to get involved as deeply as she or he wants in financial and policy matters. This gives the donor greater confidence going into the relationship.”

“For instance, the Stan and Arlene Ginsburg Family Foundation, a member of the Satell Institute, is a major donor of the World Affairs Council. As a board member, Stan is never going to have to wonder where the money he gifted is going, and how his contribution fits into all other contributions. He has all that information as a donor and as a board member. He has a voice and a vote at the table to make sure there is good governance for the organization he is supporting.”

The World Affairs Council created the Stan & Arlene Ginsburg “Great Debates” Series from the Ginsberg gift. 

“We hosted debates before, but it was not institutionalized. Now that we have reliable long-term funding, we can schedule several Great Debates a year that explore the most pressing and vexing public policy questions facing our nation and the world. We can determine topics we want to cover, and think of them as a series rather than individual events. It strengthens our cause and thought-leadership reputation, and ensures there is a forum for audiences to decide for themselves, which is important to Stan and Arlene.”

There is also a co-branding aspect 

“When you have a four-year commitment, the nonprofit will be acknowledging the donor in multiple venues in multiple occasions in multiple media – such as their digital platforms, print materials and other forms of communication they use. It is very effective when a reputable nonprofit helps create a halo effect for the donor’s brand.”

The Satell Institute is at the leading edge of CSR

“Like many other great ideas and inventions of the modern world having roots in Philadelphia, the Satell Institute is at the leading edge of the global CSR wave, informing CEOs about the centrality of CSR to their forward-looking business plans.”

“By creating and codifying long-term commitments between businesses and nonprofits, the Satell Institute is building structure within which all of us can win.”

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