Getting involved in the community and supporting nonprofits seems like a natural way to spread generosity and gratitude.
So what's the problem?
Studies have shown that generosity and gratitude lead to happier, more rewarding lives.
Everyone wants to be happy, right? So how do we get there?
Time is the problem.
People are busier than ever. No one is looking for more to do. So how do companies and nonprofits get people to volunteer? How do individuals make space in their lives to figure out how do get involved in a meaningful way?
Structure. It's all about making it easy and helping people find their passion. Think about a time where the hours flew by. What were you doing? What do others always come to you for? The intersection between what you're good at and what your passionate about is your starting point. If you are a company, what is the change your business seeks to make in the world? How can a strategic philanthropy program help achieve those goals?
Talent is the problem.
Finding a qualified workforce is difficult. Imagine paying lower salaries, declining benefits and more complicated reporting structures. Now imagine your boss is not just one person, but 10-30 volunteers that may or may not know how to lead. As volunteers, they work for free and don't get performance reviews. How does that work?
Training. Everyone needs a good understanding of what their role is and how to be most effective. The first step in training is to make sure everyone is there for the right reason. The second step is carving out time to create plans to support growth and development. Everyone from the Board Chair and the CEO to the development professional needs role clarification and coaching to do their best work. Both companies and nonprofits need to provide these training opportunities.
Treasure is the problem.
Limited resources can cause pressure, which results in short-sighted thinking. Nonprofits often lack long-term funding plans to ensure sustainability. When the pressure is on, people don't make choices that strengthen the organization for the long-run; rather, they look for quick fixes to address today’s emergency. How do we get out of this hand-to-mouth cycle?
Planning. When nonprofits create and sustain long-term, meaningful relationships, they are more likely to thrive financially. Planning for and securing diversified funding streams is critical since funding priorities can shift overnight. Relying too heavily on one source—corporate, foundation, individual or government funds—leaves nonprofits open for unexpected drops that can have crippling effects. A good fundraising plan will help mitigate this risk.