Be Bold with Business-minded Philanthropy

Asha Aravindakshan

July 15, 20204 min read

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Sprinklr launched a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program called 24-4-U last year. There is also a companion program called 24-4-Others. Sprinklrites worldwide could dedicate 24 hours towards a cause of their choice: their personal/professional development or philanthropy. Both programs are built on our company’s core beliefs, including “Every human has the potential to be amazing. Keep learning.”

I chose to spend my 24-4-U Day in 2019 at the Bolder Board training featuring Dan Pallotta, President of the Charity Defense Council. For the past seven years, I’ve served on the Board of Directors of the university alumni associations for both of my alma maters. I have taken a couple of classes on organizational boards (online and in-person) and researched that most in-person board training targets non-profits organizations, like this one. I was interested in the content of helping non-profit boards, specifically hearing the speaker’s thoughts on the topic. Pallotta has a popular TED talk that I watched 5 years prior, but I had never seen him speak live. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss!

My 24-4-U morning started off delving into the concepts from Pallotta’s TED talk, focused around the concept that the for-profit sector regularly dreams of the impossible, while the non-profit sector thinks dreams are impossible. The concepts from the Bolder Board training were familiar to me, having worked in both the private and public sectors, but the current examples shared by Palotta were new to share back with the organizations.

For example, with advertising, the for-profit sector allocates annual budget dollars to indoctrinate people to their brand and the non-profit sector must wait for donations to act on public engagement. Pallotta shared that even the ratio of advertising dollars exacerbated the gap in thinking:  the for-profit sector spent $729 billion on ads in the USA and the non-profit health sector spent $1.5 billion on ads in the same period. This limitation on marketing through advertising alone limits the non-profits ability to earn market share as demonstrated by charitable giving stuck at 2% of GDP across the past forty years. (Pallotta’s research shows that only 144 non-profits achieved $50 million in revenue since 1970.) The additional concepts around reward, risk, time, and profit reiterated transferability of the private sector mentality to the non-profit sector, which can be easy to dismiss in a different setting.

Bolder Board Training New York 2019 Class Photo via @danpallotta

In the afternoon, I advised other attendees on their non-profits work and programs, including a research-oriented charity determining the call to action at its large fundraising gala as well as a charity ratings platform on alternate revenue streams. Another one of the organizations was a musical performance theater that was having a hard time attracting younger customers, so we discussed opportunities to narrow its focus on younger customers by retargeting through email and digital advertising those that attended a performance with future ticket promotions or young professionals themed nights. This narrowing of the audience scope could build a cult-like following for their shows. As the afternoon session wrapped at the Bolder Board training, my day felt more aligned to the Sprinklr 24-4-Others mantra and I felt positive vibes from one of Sprinklr’s other core beliefs: “helping others succeed makes us happy. Give back.”

The day concluded with a simple yet powerful challenge from Pallotta to the attendees, “What is the first step you would need to take to begin to bring that possibility closer to reality and by when will you do that?” His advice:  host a  kick-off call and announce the possibility. It was a subtle reminder to go for the dreams of the impossible.

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