November 14, 2016

Up-cycle Corporate Philanthropy: Make Something Great with “Garage” Stuff

recycle symbol, three arrowsOne of the most exciting opportunities nonprofit partnerships provide to businesses is the chance to make something out of nothing. In this case, nothing is an asset that has little use or small cost for you. For instance, you’ve got widgets in storage. When you up-cycle them you transform them so they generate enormous value-to you, a cause, and the community.  

Let me give you some examples to illustrate so you gain a glimpse of why asset up-cycle philanthropy excites:    

Your firm donates the reverse side of your invoices to a favorite cause. Smile. Your philanthropy shows and the nonprofit you support raises $10,000.

  • An automobile dealer buys a TV ad package that comes with bonus time. The dealer uses the bonus minutes to highlight their favorite nonprofit partner. This promotes the cause-something the nonprofit would never be able to afford on its own. Surveys shows that your customers remember you and theses ads more than the ones that just feature your business.
  • Your unused hotel nights become the reason a national nonprofit chooses your city for the site to holds board meeting. In exchange, you ask the nonprofit to provide your staff with several sessions about their work. Staff morale improves and HR successfully uses your gift to recruit talent.
  • Your firm sponsors an event. Instead of using your five minutes at the podium to promote your firm, you share the three of your five minutes with a nonprofit partner. They share their message and your brand gains a halo.
  • You donate the side of your building and the associated costs to set up a projector. In October, you project a pink ribbon every evening to support breast cancer awareness. Thousands of drivers notice your business. 

In the hands of generous and innovative business leaders like you, your under used assets become a treasure. As you begin your 2017 business planning, remember to explore ways to use your underutilized asset to help your business, show your philanthropy, and make the world a better place.


Karen Eber Davis

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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