Nonprofits spend a large amount time proposing partnerships with corporations and businesses for a number of reasons: program volunteers, needed resources, Board members and sponsorship dollars. With the 2008 recession and the challenging economic climate that followed there has been a shift in the kind of partnerships formed between the business world and nonprofit community. The relationship today is more mutually beneficial and in a lot of ways more meaningful for both parties. This new socially responsible model and corporate culture is pivotal for nonprofits to understand so they do not just go about seeking partnerships in the same manner.
This model influences how corporations train their leadership and gives them real world experience raising awareness for the corporate brand. Corporations are seeing some of their best and most productive professional development happen from volunteering in their community. Working with local nonprofits through time specific projects has helped professional teams to work together, while at the same time raising awareness about both the corporation and nonprofit. By challenging leadership teams to work with employee groups in volunteer projects corporations are seeing their effectiveness managing people, project management skills, and their leadership abilities in action.
Companies are seeing the ROI of social good and how that success translates to a productive and satisfied workforce. Even in a recession employee satisfaction has become a priority to many businesses. Still corporations are having trouble finding the right people with the right combination of positive attitude, tech savvy, and willingness to become emotionally involved with a product. By being ambassadors of social good employees have the opportunity to see their work place as a positive influence in a community, not just a revenue centered business, thus increasing employee satisfaction.
According to the 2010 Edelman Good Purpose Study consumers expect corporations to invest in a purpose and 64% believe it is no longer enough for corporations to give money; they must integrate good causes into their everyday business. Some corporations like; Cox Communications, Quick Trip, and Home Depot all have opportunities for employees to take a day off work to help local community organizations with special events and improvement projects. The result has been a positive impact to company culture and profitable the bottom line for the corporations making the shift to be more philanthropic.
Knowing where companies are focusing their efforts will give nonprofits making the adjustment in their partnership approach a valuable leg up on status-quo groups not acknowledging the shift to the CSR model. The economy has changed the way the corporate world has had to brand itself and products to their consumers. Nonprofits are going to have to take advantage of this effort by corporations to appeal to more conscious consumers wanting not only value and quality, but a better world as well.
Bio of Author
This blog was created to find a more engaging way to cultivate funding and connect with stakeholders. Relationships are everything, transparency is key, and nonprofits and schools must find a way to engage their supporters, community, and populations they serve.
Here are the nuts and bolts of my experience: I have 16 years of management and fundraising experience in nonprofit and education. As a professional fundraiser I have raised close to $40 Million Dollars, given over 300 professional presentations, managed more than 200 employees, and authored curriculum for numerous education programs. I hold a Bachelor’s Arts in Psychology from Westminster College and a Master’s of Science in Family and Child Development from the University of Central Oklahoma. I also hold graduate certificates in Advanced Leadership Studies from Clemson University and Public Health from the University of North Carolina.
I frequently guest lecture for nonprofit administration and teacher education graduate programs (my favorite thing to do). I also enjoy speaking to business and service groups about the importance of corporate philanthropy and how partnering with nonprofits and schools can play an important role with employee satisfaction and influencing consumer choice.
Currently I am the Executive Director of the Martinez Foundation, founded by Holli and Edgar Martinez in 2008, which strives for equity and excellence in education. The Martinez Foundation supports teachers of color in the state of Washington through graduate level scholarships, personalized mentoring, access to resources, and professional development.
“If you believe business is built on relationships, then make building relationships your business.” -Scott Stratten
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