By: Julie Beem, MBA
Spreading collaborative “love” doesn’t have to be confined to alliances with other businesses. Local and national non-profits are always looking for business partners. The benefit to your business of focusing on a partnership with a non-profit are:
- It shows your customers, your employees and your community that you’re socially responsible.
- It gives you and your employees meaningful ways to get involved in a cause/mission.
- It can deepen your connection to a community or new market area.
- It gives you and employees a creative outlet to share your skills, expertise and passion for a specific cause.
- It can be the impetus for new clients – because many like working with businesses that actively show they care.
So, how do you find the “right” non-profit to love?
You probably get lots of requests to “give” to nonprofits in some way – product donations, sponsoring events, volunteering, employee contributions. But it’s important to align with a non-profit that makes business sense, depending on what your goals are.
Questions to consider when choosing a non-profit:
- Are they local to your community? If your business is primarily local, then working with a local non-profit makes the most sense. Being advertised as a sponsor and getting local publicity connected with the non-profit’s event benefits your business.
- Are they specific to your marketplace? Finding a charity that serves or appeals to your customers’ demographic can be very beneficial. For example, if you’re a pet store, working with an animal shelter or adoption program makes perfect sense. Your sponsorship will definitely be seen by people who could be your customers. For your business this may be a little less apparent. This is why interviewing the non-profit and understanding who they serve and who their demographics are is very important.
- Does the non-profit do enough (and the right kind) of outreach? A major goal of working with a non-profit should be for the goodwill that’s generated by supporting their organization. But goodwill is only as “good” as how widely it’s known. When interviewing non-profits, make note of how they use marketing, social media, publicity, and outreach not only to share their message, but to thank/highlight their supporters. Non-profits really interested in a collaboration may suggestion special communication and promotional strategies that are a win-win for both of you.
- Is the passion there? Let’s face it – it’s much easier to volunteer our time, talent and money to a mission you believe in. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with building an alliance with a charity that means something to you. Perhaps one of your employees has a child with a disorder, or you know someone who has benefited from the organization. Non-profits want sponsors and volunteers who are passionate about their mission – it’s much more likely that you’ll give more and tell others when you believe in what they’re doing.
- Check them out. It’s always wise to check the non-profit’s stability through their financials, history, and testimonials of others. You can also search them on Charity Navigator or Guide Star (although smaller non-profits often don’t have much information registered there.)
Julie Beem, MBA, is the Executive Director of the Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc. (ATN), www.attachtrauma.org, a national organization that promotes healing of traumatized children through support, education and advocacy. ATN welcomes corporations who want to strengthen the voice of traumatized children, and the families who love them and professionals who serve them. ATN represents thousands of families – adoptive, foster, step and biological – as well as therapists, caregivers, teachers and others who use trauma-informed approaches to heal children’s hearts. Julie can be reached at [email protected].