This month, Inc. Magazine ran an interesting article on "Why Charities Don't Want Your Money." It explained that many companies, especially small or very specialized ones, sometimes have trouble trying to partner with major charitable organizations. They're generally seeking win-win arrangements, where they raise money for (or donate money to) a charity and in exchange reap benefits from being associated with a good cause. (Learn about "cause-related marketing" at the Business for Social Responsibility website.)

The article describes how a small Georgia company with annual sales of $20 million tried to strike a deal with a national charity whereby it would donate $20,000 per year in exchange for the right to be associated with the charity. It found that most of the big charitable organizations weren't interested in such a small sum and were looking for $50,000 or more. These big charities are looking to partner with big companies, where they'll enjoy broad exposure and probably more sizable total donations, as well.

So what's a smaller firm to do? It might look for suitable smaller charities, many of which are national in scope. It might also just keep trying. The company in the article ended up partnering with Make-A-Wish Foundation, though the deal struck seems to involve average annual contributions of $100,000 or so.

Still, however a firm does it, making charitable donations a priority often pays off well. Employees, for one thing, may be more motivated. Consumers may be attracted to the company's generous spirit. And, of course. those served by the charities also win.

We at The Motley Fool have been running an annual charity drive for seven years now, and we've mainly aligned ourselves with smaller charitable organizations. This year, we're raising money for five charities we think very highly of, and we invite you to at least read about them and get to know them a bit. Though we're sure they'd love to receive a few of your dollars, they would also simply love to have more people become familiar with their inspiring and world-changing work.