How to Build and Grow a Successful Cross-Sector Partnership

This is a guest post by Jeff Hoffman, president of Jeff Hoffman & Associatesa global philanthropy and civic engagement firm that enables businesses, organizations and individuals to re-imagine a world full of hope, promise and opportunity. This article originally appeared on the Reimagining Service blog.

Business professionals and not-for-profit directors often have very different perspectives. There are inequities in power and differences in resources. Building a good working relationship is critical to success. Differences can be worked through by developing strategies, including setting clear expectations and goals, based on achieving mutually beneficial results.

This is the description of, Partnerships That Work, the panel I moderated at the Business4Better conference. To illustrate the best attributes of partnerships, I choose two that demonstrate the positive impact to both parties when there are shared goals and defined outcomes;  Disneyland Resort and CHOC Children’s,  The Boeing Company and Inside The Outdoors. Continue reading

Neil Bush Promotes Volunteerism

Neil Bush, the Chairman of Points of Light and brother and son of two Presidents, gave a heartfelt and emotional keynote about the need to increase volunteerism and the impact it can have on society.

Neil Bush, Chairman, Points of Light

Youth volunteering and engagement is on the rise. The number of youth who volunteer has grown from 13 percent of the population to 22 percent of the population since Points of Light was founded. In fact, Neil Bush’s daughter, Lauren Bush started FEED in 2007 where she sells simplistic burlap bags with the proceeds going to help feed children through the United Nations World Food Program. Continue reading

#CSRchat: A Live Interview with Susan McPherson

Can you conduct a Twitter chat virtually and present live at a conference — at the same time?

Susan McPherson might tell you I never quite asked her that question before I volunteered that she and I could do that at the Business4Better conference, but in the end Susan proved that she can tweet and talk and share a wealth of information about CSR at the same time.Although someone’s suggestion that we chew gum as well didn’t make the cut.

Another first we attempted was turning the tables on Susan to make her the guest rather than host of #CSRchat, the Twitter chat she founded and has run for the last three years.

 

Here is our chat/interview: Continue reading

Non-Profit is Just Another Business Model

Brad Slaker, founder of DesignWise, didn’t set out to create a non-profit, he told a crowd at Business4Better. It just turned out to be the best business model. A “volunteer-based business model” meant they could design products for a fraction of the usual cost, so it became feasible to focus on what is usually an under-funded field – pediatrics. “I worked in the medical device industry for 20 years; I never even heard of a pediatric project being initiated,” he reported. Now he works on them all the time.

Designwise PT Rover Push Cart for mobility challenged young adults.

Of course, a volunteer-based business would just be about free labor if the only goal were capital. But Slaker’s real goal is to create products to help kids that otherwise would suffer. He just wants the effort to be self-sustaining.

He thinks about DesignWise as a business. It’s just a business that is valued on more than financial growth. Continue reading

8 Tips for Nonprofit Partnerships

Carol Cone, an internationally recognized leader in CSR and Global Practice Chair, Business + Social Purpose, offers eight tips for companies partnering with non-profits.

“It is not about you. There needs to be your goals, the partner goals and shared goals,” she said at the Business4Better conference. “And then you need to evolve the partnership.  Don’t just manage the program, create relationship management.”

Here are eight tips Cone gave the audience for successful partnerships with nonprofits:

 

  1. Get  leadership buy-in
  2. Clearly define roles and responsibilities
  3. Plan realistic expectations and deadlines
  4. Evolve program elements
  5. Communicate continuously
  6. Provide expected and unexpected benefits and opportunities
  7. Celebrate accomplishments
  8. Actively manage relationships, not just programs

Overcoming ‘compassion collapse’ with crowdsourced CSR

Getting individuals involved in helping to tackle the world’s immense problems — poverty, hunger, unemployment, environmental issues — is a tough task. People don’t feel they can make a difference.

“The problems we know are so big that compassion collapse gets in the way of taking action,” Premal Shah, president of Kiva, a nonprofit microfinancing site, said in a keynote at Business4Better.

Premal Shah

Kiva tries to overcome this problem with a website that makes social issues personal and “human scales” the world’s problems, Shah said. The site provides information on entrepreneurs, such as a 25-year-old woman in Kenya needing a loan to help with her business, and enables individuals to make loans. Continue reading

What It Takes to Lead a Business with Social Purpose

E-Rewards and Give Something Back Office Supplies (GSB)are shining examples of competitive businesses that are doing business with purpose to change lives. At the 2013 Business4Better Conference, Kurt Knapton, CEO of E-Rewards, and Mike Hannigan, President of Give Something Back Office Supplies, shared their personal journey to create successful businesses that have a larger social purpose.

Mike Hannigan (GSB), Kurt Knapton (e-Rewards), Sophie Faris (B Lab)

“I am capitalist first”, spouts Knapton.  “While do social good is important, you need to have the business experience to compete at a very high level”.  Knapton leads E-Rewards, a fast-growing B2B research company that organizes survey panels made of up 6.5 million consumers in more than 40 countries. Knapton was inspired by doing something bigger and better.  He refers to Peter Drucker, father of modern management, who states that the business bottom line is measured both by business value and changing lives.  E-Rewards is a for profit company who now is offering its consumers options in the form of both extrinsic rewards/gifts and intrinsic rewards.  The intrinsic rewards are fulfilled through Kiva where survey takers can transfer their reward to microfinance loans.  The result is $250,000 in loans impacting 11,000 people in just a few short months. Continue reading

The right match: Sonic Drive In and DonorsChoose.org

When Sonic Drive In wanted to give back to the community, it didn’t rush into things. The company, which has 3,500 drive-in restaurants across the country, wanted to make sure any initiative had the support of its franchise partners. And it wanted to focus on education, unlike the health focus of one of its top competitors, McDonald’s.

Sonic ultimately decided it wanted to support teachers at the local level. To do that, it teamed with DonorsChoose.org, a Web-based nonprofit that enables teachers to submit requests for classroom supplies. Five years later, the partnership is still going strong.

“We took the right amount of time to research on the front end” to make sure it would be the right program with the right partner, Christi Woodworth, Sonic’s director of social media, said during a session on corporate-nonprofit partnerships at the Business4Better conference.

Continue reading

Web Design Company Gets Business Benefit from Giving Back

Tim Frick, president of Mightybytes, a Chicago-based web development firm, got fed up. After weeks of watching footage of oil-soaked pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP spill,  he had to do something. He rode his bike.

Tim Frick on Climate Ride

Tim Frick in the redwoods during Climate Ride

“When you are angry, take it out on your legs,” he told his audience at Business4Better.

Frick joined ClimateRide on a multi-day ride from Ventura, Calif. to San Francisco. A lucky case of bronchitis slowed him down, and he ended up getting a behind the scenes look at the organization from the “sag wagon.” A love affair was born. Continue reading

Shared value: Going beyond traditional CSR

Corporate social responsibility has come a long way from the days of handing out checks and doing good. It’s even gone beyond strategic CSR, in which businesses try to do more than donate money. Today, many companies are shifting to the concept of “shared value.”

This new phase was the focus of a panel discussion here at B4B led by Lalitha Vaidyanathan, managing director of FSG. “Corporate responsibility of the future needs to come from the core business,” she told the audience. “You’re creating social good while creating economic value for the business.”

Adam Lowry, Lalitha Vaidyanathan, Christopher Lloyd

Shared value requires approaching business in a much different way, she said. Corporate philanthropy still has a role, but companies need to think if there are bigger, more scalable ways for them to create social change. Both large and midsize companies can participate, she said. Continue reading