Did you know there are other ways to help the organizations you are serving besides writing a big check? While individual contributions are helpful, we may not always be in a position to provide significant personal resources. I have helped develop alternative ways to provide value to the nonprofits I have served. Here are a five proven ideas:
Host a Small Gathering
Hosting an intimate gathering in your office or at a local restaurant of other business leaders to hear a guest speaker present on a relevant topic are highly effective. This can be an author, recognized business leader or a professional service provider offering their views on the market or trends. Invite the head of your nonprofit organization and make introductions. Provide a meal in a relaxed setting and invite people who have a heart for giving back. This approach creates more awareness in the business community for the nonprofit, attracts potential volunteers for the organization’s projects and draws potential donors.
Hold a Forum
A modification of the above idea, but think bigger. Every six months my firm hosts a Bell Oaks Forum, usually in partnership with a local university at one of their facilities. We invite 100-150 senior business leaders to hear someone of interest present on a relevant topic. We usually select a nonprofit our firm supports as a “Community Sponsor,” place their logo and information in our marketing materials and recognize them at the Forum. We invite the organization’s leader to say a few words and offer a place for them to distribute marketing information. The events are free and we invest in coffee and a light breakfast for the attendees. Everyone involved—the speaker, attendees, presenting organization and nonprofit—benefits.
Give Gifts that Matter
Every Christmas, many of us give generously to our clients and business colleagues to whom we wish to show our appreciation. Next year, instead of giving the overstuffed gift basket or box of cookies, make a donation on their behalf to your favorite nonprofit. Each year our firm makes a donation to our favorite causes in the name of clients and friends; the response has been wonderful and we are able to help in a meaningful way the causes we support throughout the year.
Open Your Network
Actively introduce key business leaders and other valuable resources to the leaders of the nonprofits you serve. If you are aware of its organizational needs, you may be able to get friends to donate their skills and professional services pro-bono which is of enormous value. These coffee and lunch meetings you facilitate can often produce a lot of positive results for both parties and it is as simple as sending an introductory email.
Promote the Cause
Use email and social media to promote the nonprofits you serve. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter updates on upcoming events for your nonprofits can help raise their profile in the community. Send updates to your network when the organization is in the news or if any of the leadership is quoted. This is incredibly valuable and costs a minimal investment of time.
What are some other ways you’ve added value to a nonprofit?
Randy Hain is the Managing Partner of Bell Oaks Executive Search in Atlanta and he actively serves on a number of nonprofit boards in the Atlanta community. Randy is the author of the new business book, Something More: The Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life (March 2013, Liguori) This blog post is an excerpt from the CLA Articles Archives – member access only.