Defining our Business
What we are in the business of?
To say that the Foundation is in the business of philanthropy seems obvious, but it is not exactly a useful description to base an entire business plan around. Nor is really correct.
To answer this question, the basic tenets of a Contract provide guidance. All contracts, verbal or written have three components; an offer, acceptance of that offer and consideration.
Whilst these three components are typically transparent to parties of commercial contracts, for the Foundation they are more abstract.
The Foundation’s ‘offer’ is neither a good or a service. The offer is a proposition.
The proposition is that by being connected with Marcellin College, now, in the past or the future, you receive something of value. People and organisations who accept that proposition ideally are converted to a 'sale' through donations and bequests.
The Foundation is therefore in the business of COMMUNICATING this proposition as effectively as it can.
We are a communication business.
The more effectively we communicate the proposition the better the financial outcomes. And like all good communication businesses, we have to identify our audience, then create a market place where people feel like they belong, where the narrative is of substance and resonates. ('Messages that stick' is a bit of a buzz term) All the while, events and functions should be treated as complimentary to the communications strategy. Good functions = good communications. Finally, our 'Plant & Equipment' is our Communications systems - all of which revolve around a central repository of structured and organised knowledge - in our case the Synergetic Business System.
And if you will forgive this crude allegory, the DONATE button on our website, or the raffle tickets sold or the funds from a campaign are our 'point of sale'.
The value or consideration assigned to our proposition has different value for different constituents. It cannot be quantifiably measured in monetary terms in the same way a widget can and this is the fundamental dilemma for Management in forecasting financial returns and assigning KPIs.
Furthermore, there is are some other unusual attributes to our contract. The donor may have already 'consumed' the implied value of the proposition (and that could be up to 67 years ago) or is still to experience the value of it. What's more, that person is happy to bestow the consideration to a third party to whom they have no connection or have no knowledge (i.e. Beneficiaries of the St Marcellin Champagnat Fund) and will never enjoy the same public attribution that say naming rights of Building will give.