Nonprofits, how are you engaging your corporate partners in experiencing the non-cash value of your organization? When was the last time you invited your corporate partner on a site tour or a behind-the-scenes experience with your services, or asked them to participate in a volunteer opportunity?
A few years ago, I was invited to Children’s Hospital Colorado for a half-day session at the hospital. I was with a small group of other agency partners, community influencers and donors, and we spent the day meeting with doctors, sitting in clinics and touring different departments throughout the hospital. My eyes were opened to the expertise, resource needs and opportunities as well as the challenges in health care.
I also participated this spring in a Denver Public Schools Day of Service with Noble Energy and the Denver Broncos where we helped move classroom furniture at Cheltenham Elementary School, participated in field day activities and met with the principal and teachers. As a parent, education is a top priority for me, and being able to step into the hallways for the day and feel the impact of budget cuts was eye-opening.
And last week I brought my family to Community Food Share for a tour of the food bank so we could learn about volunteer opportunities for food sorting and an upcoming local farm gleaning event. But we walked away a little shocked about hunger issues in our own backyard.
These examples highlight the non-cash value of direct experiences with an organization and are priceless.
These experiences are happening all over the globe. I read an article, “Redefining how value is generated through cause marketing,” by Paul Fisher, CEO at UnLtd in Australia, that focuses on non-cash values. In the article Fisher describes how he and a group of executives spent an evening in a youth detention center jail. Yes, a jail. “If our one night in jail pulls one young person off the street and into a program, from which he or she is prevented from self-harming, suicide or repeat incarceration, and he or she goes on to become a barista, earns a wage making coffee, rents a house, buys furniture, and on it goes – what is the value we generated in that one night?”
Just think of what we can do to make a difference! We can generate value way beyond the cash we contribute. There is an unquantifiable value, Fisher says, that each individual and/or group can make – beyond the value of an hourly rate or cash donation – when the experience is then turned into action.
“Every day the highly talented people in our industry generate value for their clients, for their own brands, for their colleagues, for their social media platforms. Increasingly, these very same people are asking how they can generate value for social purpose. They are seeking a cause to believe in or, in many cases, they want to apply their skills to the causes with which they are already deeply involved, whether that be children and young people, animals, the environment, health or any number of other worthy cause ‘genres,’” says Fisher.
It is time to rethink your development strategies and how your organization can develop non-cash value experiences. It is an investment you can’t afford to miss.