VOL. 131 | NO. 123 | Tuesday, June 21, 2016
FUNdraising Good Times
Pearl and Mel Shaw
Important Role of Corporate Support for Nonprofits
MEL and PEARL SHAW | Special to The Daily News
Financial and in-kind support from businesses and corporations are so important to the life of nonprofits. Whether through event sponsorships or grants for programs and operations, businesses matter. They provide visibility, funding and talent.
Employees and executives serve as board members and volunteers, donating their time, expertise and money. They encourage others to do the same, inviting their consumers, customers, partners and employees to join them in giving.
Likewise, there are benefits that accrue to businesses who engage with nonprofits. These include the opportunity to extend your brand to a new audience, or to communicate your support of specific nonprofits to your current audience. Supporting a nonprofit is also an ideal way to increase visibility and to network.
Sponsoring nonprofit events helps attract and retain talent, especially among employees who want to feel connected to their community through the workplace. It can also be a creative – and often cost-effective – way to meet marketing or other business goals. These are a few examples of the positive impact corporate philanthropy can have on a business.
Corporate philanthropy also strengthens our community. Every day we see the impact that FedEx, AutoZone, Independent Bank, International Paper, Nike and other businesses large and small make on the quality of life across the mid-South, and around the country. Local businesses such as Laurelwood Shopping Center, Younger & Associates, Watkins Uiberall, and Duncan-Williams are also busy investing in our nonprofits with funding and volunteer hours that increase nonprofits’ impact.
It is important to focus on the business-related benefits of a relationship with a nonprofit. At the same time, it is important to remember that nonprofits provide our community with many intangible benefits that a business cannot purchase or provide.
For example, if your business seeks to ensure that it conducts business with minority- and women-owned businesses, then it is important to support those nonprofits that incubate, mentor and help build the capacity of these businesses. It is difficult for a municipality or business to contract with businesses that don’t exist, or that have challenges scaling to meet increased demand. History has shown the important role that business development organizations such as Mid-South Minority Business Continuum (MMBC) and National Association of Women Business Owners-Memphis (NAWBO) play, especially when there is a history of limited business opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses.
One way to make a difference is to sponsor the August 2016 MMBC Conference. The conference provides all participants and sponsors with networking opportunities, exposing corporations, local businesses and MWBEs to each other.
Here are our closing thoughts: When reviewing sponsorship or giving opportunities consider the direct business benefits and the indirect ones. Consider how your investment in local nonprofits can help create a climate that attracts and retains young professionals. Diverse, inclusive communities depend on the services, expertise and advocacy provided by nonprofits such as the local NAACP chapter, Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center and Latino Memphis, among many others. Your financial support makes a difference.
Mel and Pearl Shaw, owners of fundraising consultancy firm Saad&Shaw, can be reached at 901-522-8727 or saadandshaw.com.