What Can Nonprofits Teach Businesses?

red flowers and greenery decorativeEarlier this month, I led several workshops at the Meals on Wheels of America Annual Conference. One session focused on how to create high-value, win-win-win partnerships with businesses. Some 60 executive and staff members packed the room. To create valuable partnerships, I wanted everyone to be clear about what they can offer. So we generated long lists of resources with potential business value. The lists included signage, business connections, employee opportunities, generating crowds, and more.

While their lists at first were extensive, they were incomplete. Two more resources, fundamental to nonprofit success, were missed. They often get overlooked. Can you guess what they are?

Knowing how to:
• Organize, inspire, and lead volunteers.
• Motivate people to give away their money.

Jane S. Howze the founder of The Alexander Group articulated these skills in this podcast, Executive Search: Enhance Your Work By Creating a Great Team. Among other executive search insights, Jane compares and contrasts nonprofit CEOs and for-profit CEOs. Across the sectors, Jane finds that successful CEOs use similar leadership skills. Leaders are leaders, that is, except for two skills that differentiate nonprofit leaders from their peers. Nonprofit leaders must also know how to lead volunteers and inspire donations from individuals. What Businesses Learn from Nonprofits

What subtle value can partnering with nonprofits offer your businesses? How to motivate people to do two irrational things: give their time and their money, without receiving money in return. These skills, applied just a smidgen in your business, offer you the power to transform your employees’ experiences and transform your business. . When applied these skills, invite employees to find more meaning in their work and more fully engage in it.

Karen Eber Davis

Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.