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Evolving Philanthropy: From Feel-Good to Real Good.

I had the pleasure of attending the Envision Tahoe Venture Summit On Friday at the new Tahoe Blue Event Center. What an inspiring event in a beautiful location. The impact of the new Tahoe Blue Event Center will be substantial for South Lake Tahoe.

The casinos for decades have done a good job bringing entertainment and conventions to the lake but the new event center is a level up. It’s when business, commerce, and community come together to build something bigger than the parts. The opportunities are endless and the impact will be generational.

Which brings me to my topic today. Impact. For years I have donated to local causes and non-profits. Two years ago I pulled back on my donations because I felt something was just not working, I was missing something and couldn’t put my finger on it. In the business world, I come in and within 4 months it is clear if my efforts are working or not. There are goals, sales numbers, and/or brand awareness numbers that I hit or not. Whatever the outcome we reevaluate and scale up what’s working, cut what’s not, or even part ways. This is the business I am in.

Sad to say I have not had this clarity working with non-profits. Yesterday one of the speakers Sean Fanning, Marcella Foundation, hit the nail on the head. A good amount of the questions in the Q&A were on “Who” and what could apply/qualify for funds, normal grant questions. The Marcella Foundation’s guidelines were pretty clear that South Lake Tahoe needed to benefit but beyond that Sean Fannan kept answering again and again with “It has to have an Impact” and I could see that answer was not quite hitting home for a few of the attendees.

For myself, the big light bulb went off! That was the key element I was missing in my many years of donating my time and resources to the feel-good world of non-profits. Which, sad to say in the end left me feeling empty and used up, a common problem in the non-profit ecosystem. Of all my attempts to help marketing-wise, most failed, my ego just felt battered, and my perception was changing to not wanting to have anything to do with nonprofits. This year I stepped back to get a better perspective. Non-profits have different markers and goals than a for-profit company and those goals can be elusive, now I feel, I have a measurement I can put in the mix, Impact. This is what I needed out of my giving back to the community and the confidence that I was not a bad person for asking for it in return for my time and effort. Just giving does not work The Gates Foundation has been forerunners in this concept.

I’m an optimist so, I did not give up completely but have reevaluated my criteria and guidelines.

Impact: What is the impact on the community?

Are they:

  • Filling a hole or bridging a gap.

  • Providing a service to an underserved demographic.

  • Building a project that requires collaboration of community, government, and/or commerce.

What role can I play?

This was a big frustration to me. I have many skills Videography, Video Production, Social Media, and Advertising to name a few. What I found was, that I was asked to give in only one area of expertise and that was where the problem lay. My superpower is the fact that I melded all the above into an online advertising engine that actually pulls the train up the hill and DELIVERS the mail. This is my business model because in the grand scheme of things my big why is to get people seen, heard, and connected to the people who want and need their services. Why was I diluting my services for non-profits? Do they deserve less? No.

Clarity is such a wonderful feeling.

If there is a topic you’d like to hear more about by all means comment below or direct message and I’ll do my best.

Nothing better than a good question to jump into.

Reach out for a talk over coffee or a hike I give information freely. I only ask to be paid when I do the work.

Comment below or share.

Trina Gold

Master Creator

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