GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

Corporations and Nonprofits – A Match Made in Heaven?

When I first left the nonprofit sector, I wondered how I’d feel knowing I went from “doing good” every day to working for companies whose goal was to make money rather than give it away. GroundFloor Media founder Laura Love reminded me that when you find the right for-profit company, it’s possible to give back twice as much through one well-orchestrated program as you might raise in a whole year in a nonprofit role.

In this difficult economic year, it’s no surprise to learn that 38 percent of companies are cutting their cash giving. The encouraging side of the story, however, is that amidst the scaling back on cash donations, 54 percent of the more than 750 business executives surveyed in the recent Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and Hitachi Foundation study said that corporate-citizenship activities are even more important during bad economic times than good.

Since joining the GFM team, I’ve found Laura’s advice to stand true, and I’ve been fortunate to work with companies who, no matter how challenging the economy, have made it a priority to give back to the community through park cleanup programs, collection of DVDs for the troops, donations of volunteer time and money to local high schools, and, in the case of Qdoba Mexican Grill, donations of food, time and money to Starlight Children’s Foundation – the restaurant’s national charity partner.

Just today, Qdoba announced the winner of its inaugural Qmmunity program, which launched in early October and ran through Nov. 1 in an effort to collect inspiring stories of everyday people doing amazing things to better their communities. The Top 5 nominees (determined by votes by visitors to the site) were reviewed by a panel of judges, and Emily DuBois was selected as the most outstanding Qmmunity star. Qdoba is giving $5,000 to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America on behalf of Emily, and will dedicate a Starlight Fun Center in Emily’s name to a hospital of her choosing. In addition, Qdoba committed to giving $25,000 to Starlight in recognition of actions taken by community members who visited the site (e.g., voting for a nominee, tweeting or posting to Facebook to campaign for a nominee, etc.).

According to the 2009 Edelman goodpurpose™ Consumer Study, 83 percent of people are willing to change their consumption habits if it can help make the world a better place to live. I know that I’ve done this – purchasing a lunch bag because a portion of the funds went to breast cancer research; asking for a specific iPod for my birthday a few years ago because its sale benefited AIDS research; and comparing items at the grocery store, looking for the ones whose manufacturers advertise their giving practices on the packaging. Especially in these hard times, I feel great about being able to give back AND get something in return, usually something I was going to buy anyway.

At the end of the day, although working in the nonprofit sector was rewarding and something I truly hope to do again in my career, what Laura told me my first day on the job at GFM holds true – you CAN do good every day, and companies that give back on behalf of their consumers make it even easier than I ever imagined! I’m honored to work with one of these companies – Qdoba Mexican Grill – and look forward to helping them further their giving efforts!
– Carissa

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