Recently, I’ve met with three companies working heavily with nonprofits regarding the donation of their corporate services, which range from marketing and administration to building and grounds maintenance. Over the last few years, these companies have been freely providing their services to local nonprofits as a way to give back. They’ve been doing it for all of the right reasons and expecting and receiving nothing in return. Based on different factors, these companies are now having to examine the associated costs of their donated services, which total many thousands of dollars each month in some cases. Consequently, they’re starting to reevaluate their nonprofit relationships and searching for ways they can find some ROI (return on investment), in order to justify the expenses to owners and shareholders and continue giving back in this manner.
Although ROI has become a buzz word, it’s extremely important to understand the importance of accountability and that every decision we make needs to be rooted in the purpose of growth. This holds true for businesses, nonprofits, schools, clubs, individuals, etc. If we’re going to win organizations or people to our side and keep them there for any meaningful length of time, we must continually use their time wisely and help them grow. That growth can come in different forms, but the key is making sure that every business, organization, or individual you partner with knows you value their time and commitment and that you want to help them grow.
If you work for a business donating services, here are a few simple, free things you can ask a nonprofit to provide, which will help with your ROI. Ask the nonprofit to send an email to their board, thanking your business for the service and noting how much it’s saving the nonprofit in operations costs. On that note, make sure you send the nonprofit an invoice for your service, zeroed out, so that their team understands how much you are helping them. See if the nonprofit will highlight your business in their social media or in a printed or digital newsletter. Perhaps the nonprofit can provide tickets to an upcoming fundraising event, so your team can attend as an in-kind sponsor. These are just a few ideas to get the wheels turning. The point is, both nonprofits and businesses alike, need to focus on ROI and growth, so that way the relationships will be strong and giving back will become sustainable.