We have a tight sales budget, but there are times when a client requests we donate our products for a cause they are supporting. How do I approach management for approval? – Patty in Bethesda, MD
LYNN: Patty, it sounds like your company does not have a policy or process in step for charitable donations. This is a leadership opportunity to help create and implement a citizenship and social responsibility strategy. For the short-term, assemble your bullet points and set a time to speak with your manager. Your request should include: client, cause, product requested, value of product, and a brief statement of the donation value for the client relational capital. Depending upon the product value, you may need to clarify with your client if your company will receive the appropriate documentation required to claim a charitable donation.
TINA: This is a great question and will certainly create a variety of responses. First, how well do you know this client? Is this a prospect or a long-term client? What type of volume do they have with you? Are there other suppliers involved?
The previous questions are asked to invoke reflection on your part. If this is a valuable, long-term client, what happens if you don’t support the cause? Will you lose the business? If so, I would question your relationship with this client/prospect.
Alternately, this may be a cause that you feel strongly about – that you want to support your client/prospect in this endeavor – and that will guide your message back to management. Ultimately, unless you are funding from your own account, this will be a management decision which has been based upon your recommendation or interpretation of the request.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.