'Tis the season of giving! While the internet may have changed how we interact, find and donate to nonprofits, the “why” behind working with them has remained the same: to make an impact both on the nonprofit and the communities they serve, and to also increase the impact you and your company have on your community and the world.
If you’ve been considering working with a nonprofit, but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider before taking the leap.
A little background
Just in the last year, Peerfit's staff has doubled in size, but even when we were just a small, scrappy startup with 20 or so employees, we still knew that our commitment to making our community better was worth the time (and money). We've worked with local nonprofits like OnBikes for their annual Winter Wonder Ride, and we organized give-backs during the Hurricane disasters in 2017, in addition to providing in-kind donations for silent auctions and other events around our hometown of Tampa. While we wouldn’t call ourselves experts (yet) we do have experience working with nonprofits, even with a small team and limited resources.
The key? Get creative using what you have. For example, for our Hurricane Irma relief efforts, we organized a week where every Peerfit workout resulted in a $1 donation from that class. At the end of the week, we matched those donations to give to organizations on the ground providing Hurricane relief. This not only got our studios and Peerfit users involved, but it gave us realistic parameters to follow in order to make it happen. So with that in mind, let’s dive into a few things to consider.
Aligned mission or goals
Because your company likely has stakeholders involved, including your team and board members, it’s important that the nonprofits and charities you choose to work with are aligned in your mission or goals. If your company is working in education or tech, consider working with nonprofits who are promoting education in underserved populations, or a nonprofit working to promote STEM education. The missions don’t have to be the same but try to make them at least aligned.
Background/reputation of nonprofit
Unfortunately, not all nonprofits are created equal. First and foremost, make sure the nonprofit is a registered 501(c)(3). You should also do your due diligence by checking to see how they are rated on trusted sites such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, Better Business Bureau, and the like. The hope is that all nonprofits have the right percentage of donations going towards their actual cause and a much smaller percentage going to overhead, but without doing your research, it’s hard to know.
Is your company financially healthy enough to partner with a nonprofit?
While you and your team may want to help organizations in your community, you need to seriously ask yourself if your company is financially healthy enough to partner with a nonprofit monetarily. If you’re not at this time, don’t worry, there are still ways to help. Some ideas: In-kind donations by way of your corporate SWAG. Donate time and volunteer with organizations you support, do an employee matching donation program, or team up with some other organizations in your community to work together to create a larger impact.
How will we measure and report on success?
At the end of the day, you are still a business, so it’s crucial to identify how you will determine success ahead of time, and also how you will measure and report on that success. Is success increased purpose and happiness for your team at work? Does success look like making an impact on a cause you're working with? Determine the who, what, why and how before you finalize a partnership to save you the headache of trying to determine if your efforts were a good business decision later.
We just gave you quite a few things to consider, but while you are considering those questions, also consider the following benefits.
- Reach a whole new audience - the nonprofit’s donors/board members/volunteers/folks it helps will be exposed to your brand and your business. While your sole purpose for working with a nonprofit should not be new clients, this is something extremely important to consider if you are trying to build your brand awareness.
- Community impact - Whatever nonprofit you choose, especially if it is local to you and your business, could mean a greater impact in your community.
- Internal corporate impact - Last, and certainly not least, is the effect this could have on your team at work. People love giving back and helping others, and if they know the company they work for is passionate about it as well, this can help boost overall morale and retention.
It’s natural to want to give back, especially this time of year. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making this season and #GivingTuesday the best it can be, for you and your charity of choice.