SoCal Leaders Share Their Perspectives on Giving Back
Do your research and investigate charities before you donate, suggested the panelists at CSUF’s Center for Family Business forum on March 14.
The workshop entitled “Does Your Community Know You Are There? How Giving Back to Your Community Benefits Everyone,” included panelists Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Dennis Kuhl, chairman of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Annemarie Dillard, director of contemporary sportswear at Dilliard’s Inc., a department store chain which has most of its stores in the southern U.S.
One of the hardest parts about giving to charities is choosing which ones to support. Lam said if a charity asks him for help at an event, he finds out who else is involved.
“If I know people who are involved I will call them (and ask about their experience with the charity event)” said Lam. “I will also ask ‘Do you have fun when you are there?’ because sometimes you don’t have any fun.”
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos sets aside 2% of its budget for marketing and one-half of that goes to “cause marketing” for charities. Lam said when charities approach companies for donations, they need to make their case compelling.
“The key is that people didn’t get rich by giving everything away,” Lam said. “Give them a reason to donate.”
Finding out what people want and making that an item at an auction is one strategy to raise money. For example, if someone wants a trip to Hawaii, try to make that an auction item rather than a trip somewhere else like the Bahamas, Lam suggested.
Dillard’s stores focus on a few core charities nationally but also allows stores some authority on a local level.
“We empower our stores to make a difference in their community locally,” said Dillard, whose grandfather founded the department chain. “They have the budget to engage their community giving in how they see fit. Our stores come up with the best things. They know what matters. Stay local to something relevant to your customer base.”