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Strategic Giving: Making 1 + 1 = 3 (or more)
by Sarah 2223 days ago

Author: Sarah Rasmussen

As we wrap up the 2009 holiday season and look forward to 2010, many Colorado businesses are talking about when it make sense to offer pro bono services or to develop (or enhance) their programs for helping the community.

MGA is no different, and our views – along with those of other businesses – were recently shared in an article on American Express’ OPEN Forum, a new Web site aimed at small business owners. Expanding on what was quoted in the article, MGA’s efforts with nonprofits have provided personal and professional rewards for our employees, giving them opportunities to learn more about the Denver metro community, pursue a passion and develop their professional skills.

We view our pro bono relationships as more than “nice things to do,” however, and agree with the author of a recent ColoradoBiz article, who called these types of corporate social responsibility—or cause-related marketing programs—a “strategic business investment.” The article identifies a number of benefits for companies that employ such programs, including increasing profit margins and retaining and recruiting top talent.

MGA has worked on a number of “giving back” programs with our corporate clients, including Shell Oil Co. with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado in the aftermath of the Hayman Fire. More recently, we helped develop a partnership between Metro Volunteers and consulting firm (and MGA client) Point B. The result is the Project Leadership Program, which trains volunteers to lead teams and projects for nonprofits so they can accomplish more with scarce resources. 

“We saw this as the perfect opportunity to leverage our core skills in project leadership and give back to the Denver nonprofit community” said Point B associate Chris Wozniak, who helped Metro Volunteers create the program. 

As is true for any well-planned program of this type, the relationship allows each partner to contribute its best skills to meet measurable community needs and enhance its reputation. Metro Volunteers has expanded the program for 2010 to match the demand from nonprofit organizations.

As you start 2010, consider how pro bono partnerships or cause-related marketing might fit in your mix of goals. What has your company done in the past? Has it had an impact on your bottom line? How so, and how might you rethink your efforts to increase their effectiveness?

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