Philanthropy and YMCA Suppliers

In today’s complex and competitive world, there is often a blurring of the lines between business and philanthropic transactions.

YMCA leaders strongly urge all YMCAs to abide by the following principles when seeking contributions from Suppliers.

First, we must keep in mind that philanthropy, by definition the voluntary act of giving of one’s personal resources to benefit someone else, lies at the heart of the YMCA mission.

For YMCA the purchase of goods and services is an administration staff function and, in keeping with our core values and the principles of stewardship, it is the staff’s responsibility to seek the best combination of service, price and value. In that business relationship, driven by service, price and value, there is no room for true philanthropy. When gifts are sought and/or made in the context of that relationship, they are too often perceived by the donor and the recipient as just another cost of doing business.

Conversely, the solicitation of gifts in a fund-raising campaign, capital or annual, is a voluntary function. Gifts to the YMCA should be made freely and cooperatively with the people making the request, in support of the specific purposes of the campaign.

YMCAs regularly solicit both Suppliers and non-Suppliers alike. However, those solicitations are made in a context separate, and without regard to, any current or potential YMCA business relationship; a context in which one business leader asks another to make a gift based on the value the YMCA brings to the community in which they, their families, their employees and their customers live.

In the end, YMCA business practices are better served and our mission is better met, when voluntary contributions based upon a potential donor’s investment in the community is given as opposed to the possibility of gaining, or maintaining, a supplier relationship.