It’s smart business, and it’s the right thing to do.
I recently set up a meeting between the CEO of a new environmental NGO and several climate tech venture capitalists. The VCs told me they wanted to learn more about the NGO in order to explore opportunities for collaboration.
I couldn’t join the meeting, but I’m told by all of the participants that it went great. Lots of exciting conversation that engaged everyone in the room.
But I was disappointed when I asked the CEO about donations. Fundraising was my main goal for the meeting. For all NGOs — especially brand new ones — financial support is vital. I had presumed that the very interested (and very wealthy) VCs would naturally offer to help. But they didn’t. The topic never came up. Perhaps the CEO should have been more direct about asking for donations. Or maybe the VCs wanted to get to know the organization better before they decided to support it. But still, I was disappointed.
I was reminded how the business community pursuing climate and other environmental opportunities often forgets (1) how much they are drawing on the environmental community’s decades of prior work and (2) how they ought to recognize that by giving back.