Philanthropy has taken my heart and soul. After working for several years in donor relations, development, and marketing for a couple of local nonprofit organizations, I can say that it is where my passion lies. As I was in the market for a career change, one of the first and most important questions I asked every potential employer, was “how do you give back to the community?” It’s one of the things that I value most within a company’s culture and one reason I chose Flint Group. One of our core values here is “give back.”
I learned a lot during my time in the nonprofit world, and it helped me gain valuable insight into not only why people give, but how donors, businesses, and others interact with the nonprofits. These relationships have proven invaluable to nonprofit organizations, and I want to share three ways that your business, employees, and mission can impact nonprofit organizations and truly make a difference.
1. Invest A Minute (Time)
Your time is equally if not more valuable than your money, and nonprofits greatly appreciate investments of time. In today’s world, everybody is busy.
But when you begin carving out time in that busy schedule of yours and investing it into a nonprofit organization, you are not only telling yourself that it’s important, but you’re showing others that it is important to you, and it can begin to create a positive domino effect of community change.
· Create volunteer support initiatives to encourage your employees to invest time in these worthwhile organizations.
· Provide paid time off, allowing your employees to get involved when they might otherwise not have (We do this at Flint!).
· Spotlight nonprofit organizations that align with your values throughout your company.
· Encourage your employees to research causes that they are passionate about.
· Create volunteer workdays to team up and make a difference.
You may think you are giving up productive work time to volunteer, but really, you are giving your employees an opportunity. They can learn new, valuable working skills that they can bring back to the office. They have the chance to keep practicing and perfecting their skills while using them to make a difference not only at your place of business but at the nonprofits.
2. Invest Your Business (Resources)
What is your company known for, what is the end use of your product, and does it make life easier, better, or more efficient for your consumers and clients? It could probably make a huge difference in the life of a nonprofit too!
Finances are a hurdle that often hold nonprofits back from purchasing much-needed equipment, updated tech, or services to propel their mission forward. Individuals give physical items with the best intentions; however, they often give items that no longer have any use to them which can leave them outdated or in disrepair. Your business can step in and fill that gap.
Providing resources allows your business to think outside of the box and create new and innovative ways other than time and money to create a mutually beneficial working partnership.
When you give physical resources, it allows you to put your name, products, and services out in a positive light. It shows your business is committed to making a difference in the community. While there are a whole bunch of wins in that list for you, there are also a whole lot of wins for the nonprofit, like credibility for the organization if you are partnering with them. Expanded reach for new people to get involved with the organization, as well as coveted items or services help nonprofit operations run smoothly.
Get your team together to create a plan to incorporate the donation of goods or services into your corporate giving.
Think outside the box for unconventional ways to make a difference. Plan a demo day where you showcase and donate one of your products that a nonprofit may need. Offer pro-bono marketing (we do!) or advertising services to help spread awareness of the organization. Donate a machine or tech that would make their daily operations run smoother. The sky is the limit to what you can do with giving business resources! A benefit for both organizations: Positive public relations.
3. Invest Your Dollar (Monetary)
Is the heart of your corporate giving in the right place? If money is valued over the mission, the treasure of wealth accumulation is valued over corporate social responsibility, which can cause a negative view by the public. But if the mission is valued over money, you will find the heart, treasures, values, and passions of a business that can build rapport among consumers, suppliers, clients, and competitors, and can make a positive change in our communities.
When your business gives financially, you are helping to keep the doors of these organizations open, running, and making a difference in our communities. When you choose to give above and beyond general operating expenses, you can help them shine.
In donor relations training, I learned that when you ask an organization, “What would you do if money were no object?”, they share big dreams of how their organization can change the world. Financial constraints are the biggest hurdle for nonprofits. When you invest in these organizations, you are helping them achieve their mission’s dreams of growing, expanding, and developing new and better ways of serving their clients and our communities.
You can encourage financial giving through your business by sponsoring events, creating grants for nonprofit organizations, creating matching gifts, and incorporating matching gifts into your employee giving. Giving financially can be a lot of fun. Challenge other companies to match your gift, share with nonprofits the names of other companies, individuals, or groups whom your business respects, and share your values so nonprofits are excited to team up with your business to impact an organization.
I will always encourage businesses and individuals alike to do their research on nonprofits, whether they are local or bigger entities. Go take a tour of their facilities, and speak to the executive director, board members, and other leadership. Learn about the mission, their needs, their goals, their dreams, and how they would put your gifts to use. This will allow you to figure out the best way(s) to bolster your involvement with them so it’s beneficial to your business and the nonprofit organization.
Now let’s get out there and make a difference!