Most nonprofit leaders hope that you’ll get involved with their organization because of your passion for their cause and approach. They hope the fact that you can obtain business benefits will take a distant second place. In reality, to reach your goals you must leverage all your activities. You can promote yourself and your business and help a nonprofit by using the following ten practical recommendations:
Pick groups that align with your business interests, and draw people with whom you have affinity. Careful selection holds the greatest potential to leverage your activities.
Before you enter a meeting, pick three people with whom you’d like to speak, and speak to them before you sit down. During the meeting, encourage breaking the group up into pairs to discuss important issues before group discussions. One-on-one interactions give everyone a voice, improve decision-making quality, and deepen connections.
When invited to attend events, go. At the event, act as a host. Introduce yourself, your business, and your nonprofit role. As appropriate, establish follow-up business meetings.
Ask staff and other volunteers to help you meet people of interest. Volunteer to serve on committees with them. In return, ask staff whom they would like to meet from your contacts.
For the nonprofit’s website, give a brief video testimonial about why you support the nonprofit. Also, use the testimonial on your web page.
Write a blog post or other brief piece about insights you gained from working with the nonprofit, and encouraging others to volunteer. Share what you learned and how it helps you run your business. Adapt and re-use for your business publications.
Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper about how the nonprofit solves community needs. Solicit community action and share why, as a business leader, you’re involved.
Commend the nonprofit’s leader and your co-volunteers on LinkedIn and in social media.
Besides offering expertise in your specialty area, be intentional about learning new skills to enhance your profession. You might attend a board-training event for multiple groups. You learn and meet other board members, including new business connections.
Refer to your nonprofit work in your business presentations and writings. Use examples about what you learn, such as motivating people to volunteer, how to do much with little, and the importance of passion.
We don’t have a personal life, professional life, and volunteer life—we have one life. To achieve more, leverage your nonprofit volunteer work. I’ve identified ten opportunities. Review the list and choose one to start this week.
Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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