September 30, 2015

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

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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