What Inspires You?

That question may be at the heart of strategic, business decision making when it comes to social change. And that is the core of the apple for partnerships or even corporate grants.

Many people in the nonprofit sector become so inspired by the change their organization seeks to make that they are puzzled by the lack of enthusiasm they may encounter from their corporate counterparts.  Their own enthusiasm about a cause and/or program has them believing that corporations should be knocking the doors down trying to give them money. Or at least give them an empathetic ear and perhaps open the vault to money that previously had not been budgeted for corporate responsibility.

However, a recent study by the UK’s YouGovStone for the Social Investment Consultancy upends that idea. It found that 91 percent of businesses believe they are equally or better equipped as nonprofit organizations to deliver social change.  Social Investment Consultancy chief executive Jake Hayman says he thinks businesses are becoming far more interested in doing good through their own work (using their strengths) than by donating to charity (outsourcing social change).

But, he offers a silver lining as well: “The idea that businesses will disregard charities as partners is very dangerous. We need to find models to make use of expertise that would otherwise be expensive to the charity sector or make use of the assets of business,” Hayman told Chloe Stothart of Third Sector Online.

In his blog, Michael Rosen (michaelrosensays.wordpress.com) advises, “More often than not, you will be unable to merely persuade a corporation to give to your organization. Instead, you can inspire them to give when you can identify a corporation’s areas of interest and find a match with your organization’s needs. (See Michael’s blog for four more things nonprofits can do to strengthen corporate giving.)

Sounds like collaboration to me.

Just as foundations are beginning to ask about collaboration among nonprofits doing similar work, so can nonprofits and prospective partners look for ways to apply needed skills to solving social issues.

Making the connection:

  • How can you take your own inspiration and use it to connect the dots for prospects, so that they are also inspired to invest in your nonprofit?
  • What skills can the corporate sector contribute to help your nonprofit reach its goals?
  • Which of your partners and/or prospects can provide those skills?



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