It is in the best interest for both for-profits and non-profits to collaborate together. A working friendship not only benefits the common good but also helps strengthen both organizations in areas that may need support.
HOW a FOR-PROFIT CAN BEFRIEND a NON-PROFIT:
1. For-Profits adopt the cause of a non-profit organization as it's own.
For-profits can communicate "your mission is our mission" to a non-profit organization by organizing regular volunteer days for their employees to participate in (yes, even on company time). For-profits can host events, galas and fundraisers to raise money and awareness for their nonprofit friend. Beyond money, for-profits organizations can also donate resources to there non-profit bestie through many ways. A simple example of this is a for-profit company donating the time of their graphic designer to help their non-profit friend create a compelling logo. Some for-profits have donated (or offered at discounted rent) office space to smaller non-profits who need a place to house their headquarters. For-profits can also invite their non-profit friends to leadership enrichment workshops, retreats and other avenues of development.Ultimately, one the most effective ways of adopting a non-profit's mission as it's own is by making it apart of the for-profit company's culture: "Part of what we do is as a company is that we help our non-profit friend."
2. For-profit leaders can mentor non-profit leaders.
This is probably one of my favorite ways how a for-profit company can befriend a non-profit organization. Leaders need leaders to mentor them. Non-profit leaders are looking for diverse voices to help guide them in making their NFP organization more sustainable. For-profit leaders can offer a valuable perspective, wisdom, but most importantly, a true friendship that will support the NFP leader as they move the mission forward.
HOW a NON-PROFIT CAN BEFRIEND a FOR-PROFIT:
1. A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION CAN PROVIDE THE FOR-PROFIT'S EMPLOYEES AN AVENUE TO DO GOOD.
The majority of today's workforce is made up of the millennial generation. I am not a millennial and one of my favorite things about the millennial generation is how cause-driven they are. They are very motivated when they know their work is attached to promoting a cause. The friendship between a non-profit organization and for-profit company can help promote employee satisfaction because it provides "meaning" in addition to "money" for-profit employees receive for the work they do.
2. A NON-PROFIT CAN PROVIDE A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE THAT CAN HELP IN THE FOR-PROFIT'S LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT.
In my many years of working with a NFP leaders, one thing I have discovered is that NFP leaders are very interesting and inspiring people. They have diverse experience and a passionate voice. For-profit companies can invite non-profit leaders to speak to their team about passion, purpose and why things matter. This is a valuable "leadership development" resource non-profit organizations can offer their for-profit friends.
One of the keys to sustainability is collaboration. When we work together, we really can accomplish a lot more good. So, don't be strangers! For-Profits and Non-Profits make friends and in turn, you will make the world a better place.