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Non-profits and Top U.S. Civic and Community Projects

How do you create successful partnerships in non-profit work? Some of it depends on cooperation, some of it touches on chemistry. But what about about considering the attribute of civics and charity?

happy and cheerful volunteer groupNon-profit organizations can benefit more if they partner with companies that are not just leaders in the industry, but those that also do great civic work on their own. These companies will be more willing and better prepared to team up on charity-type projects.

The Civic 50

Organizations looking for corporations for possible partnerships in their area should check The Civic 50, a new ranking of the top community-minded companies conducted by The National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light, in partnership with Bloomberg LP. The Civic 50 are corporations from Standard and Poor's top 500 rankings that offer business resources to create better opportunities in the communities they serve. This includes not only charity giving and charity partnerships, but also community work with civic-minded groups. Together, they work to invigorate and sustain communities with goodwill projects, and in doing so, they build lasting relationships.

It’s important to match your non-profit with a company according to similar civic interests. For example, the top-ranking business on the Civic 50 list is IBM, according to Forbes. IBM helps build young leaders by putting millions of technology-related service hours into P-Tech, a Brooklyn, NY school that helps students learn computer skills and gain enough credits for associate degrees. Similarly, FedEx partnered with Direct Relief to provide a way for people affected by poverty, civil unrest, and natural disaster to access medical assistance. Both IBM and FedEx partnered with organizations that could spend their money and use their volunteers in areas that fit with what they produce as a company.

Donations and volunteers

Non-profits should also consider what they need from a company partnership in terms of donations or volunteer hours. Intel, for instance, logged more than a million volunteer hours on educational-based programs in 2011, according to the Forbes report. Facebook, on the other hand, donated $100 million to fix schools in Newark, while AT&T donates millions of dollars to education, while also providing volunteers.

Companies benefit from working with non-profit organizations and having social missions as well. Corporations who are actively involved in their communities also have employees who shine. Getting employees involved based on their own talents and ideas helps with skill development, team building, management training, and personal growth. According to the Points of Light website, more than half of the companies in the top 50 report 100% of the workforce has access to their Civic Engagement Programs or incentive programs and 94% of the top 50 have recognition programs for those involved in civic engagement.

Community Service

Starbucks is a great example of getting their employees involved in community service. Starbucks has developed an online community where employees log hours by tweeting #extrashotofgood and uploading pictures and other media to share with the world. They are currently up to almost 300,000 hours of community service with a goal of 1 million hours. Employees lead community projects, which can range from urban projects or sweeping and cleaning disused lots using leaf blowers from Husqvarna. Local residents too can get involved by signing up to help via the Starbucks Community Service web page. Nonprofit groups can partner with Starbucks to start a project and encourage volunteers to sign up, benefiting the nonprofit group as well as helping Starbucks reach it’s volunteer hours goal.

Being community-minded is good business for both corporations and non-profit organizations. At Hasbro, leaders are evaluated not just on how well they promote toys and games, but also for their community and neighborhood involvement. Managers are given a “philanthropic budget” that they can give to local non-profit organizations. They also match employee donations of time at child-centered community groups and hospitals up to $2,500 each.

Employee Civic Growth

AT&T, Captiol One, Citigroup, Comerica, Cummins, IBM, Intel, Morgan Stanley, Southwest Airlines and Viacom contribute the most of the Civic 50 list. These corporations are strong in not just giving their employees opportunities for getting involved, but for training them and providing incentives to do so. For more than 20 years, Morgan Stanley has worked with the Strategy Challenge to engage their employees talents while giving back to the community.

Capital One, ranked 5 out the Top 50, is well-known for its excellent Board Leadership Program, through which it matches, places, and supports associates working on local boards. This program is a win for everyone involved. The associates build leadership skills, the company builds its reputation, and the community gets top leaders to help dig in to community problems with problem-solving skills.

An important note for non-profits is that companies are not just throwing money at community issues and calling it a day, according to Points of Light. These companies create missions and align resources. They plan to stay involved with problem-solving on an ongoing basis. In fact, 70% of the top 50 report having a mission-level alignment with the community partners they choose to work with. IBM, Viacom, FedEx, and Bank of America are all in the top 10 of the top 50 for high scores in community partnership.

Corporations want to work with community-based, non-profit organizations. It’s not just good for business, but good for everyone.

Alana Bender Alana Bender

The above is a guest post by Alana Bender. After receiving her Computer Science degree in NorCal, Alana’s interest in writing about technology took over when she began freelancing for various blogs and publications. Aside from writing, Alana has a special love for the beach and anything Apple.

Topics: Nonprofit Programs