We are in the early days of getting going on our Corporate Karma initiative. This is the process we are going through to find a charity or a cause that we can connect with for a long-term partnership.

We feel there is an enormous opportunity to make our corporate giving produce more value both with its intended recipients as well as within Habanero. In fact, we feel pretty strongly now that the more we see value flowing both ways between us and one organization or cause, the more engaged we will be and the more we'll put into it.

Our approach to building this virtuous circle will be to match our way of giving to our ambitions and culture. To do this, we will be looking for an organization that lines up well with our purpose, values, and vision, and where there is a strong alignment between what we're good at and what that organization needs.

In my mind, what is really key about this selection process is finding an organization or cause with whom we share some connection between our purposes or our organizations' reasons for being. We clearly won't find an organization with a purpose that looks the same as Habanero's on the surface, but we can maximize the overlap.

Habanero's purpose is to be a vibrant sustainable community that exists to provide challenge, opportunity, and success for ourselves and our clients through the innovative use of technology. We have yet to really get into deep analysis on this idea, but even superficially, there is a great deal to pull out of our purpose that will be instructional for us. For example:

  • Our purpose talks about a vibrant community. We know we collaborate better with certain cultures. The lessons we've learned about this in our client and partner relationships are valuable here as well. It will pay to get clear about elements of an organization's culture that make it more or less able to collaborate with our vibrant community.
  • Our purpose talks about being sustainable. There are many causes or organizations in the not-for-profit sector that have a shorter-term perspective on the world. We are clearly looking for one that sees things longer-term. Perhaps it is focused on solving tougher, bigger problems.
  • Our purpose talks about providing challenge, opportunity, and success for ourselves and our clients. Implied in this is a special sort of relationship we desire to have with our clients. We want to be trusted advisors. We don't want to be one-off, order takers. We're focused on building longer-term, more meaningful relationships with our clients. Perhaps we are looking for a charity that thinks of its clients the same way.
  • Our purpose talks about the innovative use of technology. I'm not sure if I've ever encountered a not-for-profit that wouldn't benefit from an improved ability to leverage technology. However, we will want to look hard for organizations with needs that best match our skills and experience. Perhaps it's an organization that's ability to be successful could be greatly improved by better use of technology.

The more connection we can find in purpose, the more the organization we are working with will benefit from the deeper engagement with Habanero as a whole. This will drive ways for us to add value to the organization in more meaningful ways than just giving money. From Habanero's perspective, we should see similar benefits. We can learn a great deal from not-for-profit organizations if we are able to cultivate a deep enough relationship between our organizations to drive some intense collaboration.

All this to say that alignment of purpose between Habanero and the organization we partner with will greatly influence the likelihood of it being relevant to us and vice versa.