Small Business Today Magazine MAR 2016 AMERICAN SERVICES - Page 24
Non-profit Partnership Development:
Accessing the Hidden Capacity
By Jeffery D. Wallace
had a recent conversation with a friend of mine who runs
a small business about a small non-profit organization that
he was affiliated with. He indicated he couldn’t be more
pleased with the experience but due to a downturn in his
profits, he was going to have to scale back his contribution to
the organization. We then started talking about an investment
he was making with a consulting firm and how he felt there
was going to be future dividends from the relationship even
though no fruit had come to bear as of yet. I thought about his
collective comments and asked myself the question, “Does he
consider the non-profit organization he invests in an asset or
The aforementioned question is an important question that
probably isn’t examined by many businesses. When a company evaluates an employee, business partner, or initiative, the
basic questions are pretty standard:
• What is the return on investment (value)?
• What are the associated costs associated with this resource?
• What are the liabilities?
• What are the dividends?
• Is the output optimal from this resource?
However, this normal evaluation protocol is sometimes lacking when businesses work with non-profit organizations. Instead, the exchange is purely humanitarian which is excellent.
But is the corporation forsaking real capacity in their attempt
to engage what is considered a real community service? For
example, how many designed projects do you see between
business and non-profit organizations versus a business simply
sponsoring the activities of a non-profit organization? When a
business sits down with a non-profit and enters into exchanges
that fill voids for both organizations, such as community engagement activities in strategic areas that meet the non-profit
organization’s service scope, is it being done in an area in which
the company’s customer base is being served? Another example would be when a company focuses on a servicing campaign for a specific period in which the outreach facilitated by
the non-profit organization features a product or service of the
business with measured evaluation (i.e. survey).
Servicing the community can and should be strategic. Businesses that don’t view their humanitarian investments solely
22 SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE [[ MARCH 2016 ]
Having a plan to optimize the relationship with a non-profit
organization is not only an intelligent approach, it can
also be a powerful act of risk mitigation that can prevent
misrepresentation and wasted effort. A
as an altruistic return but an opportunity for their business
to optimize return in the community by mapping out ways to
track penetration typically get more out of the exchange. Some
basic evaluation points that s