Corporations have been experimenting with strategic philanthropy for well over 15 years, in addition to engaging in volunteer projects.
Given new strains on the economy, companies seek an even greater return on investment in strengthening the economies and communities where their employees and customers live.
A higher-impact, leading-edge model is for companies to involve their talented executives and professionals on nonprofit boards of directors – based on a highly sophisticated, thoughtful, matching process – where each person who is interested can serve on a board where he or she can truly add value in advancing the organization, while developing their leadership experience.
With this model, if companies also channel their corporate philanthropy to nonprofits where their executives and professionals serve on boards, then companies can have greater confidence in the boards and leadership of the organizations they support, leverage talent with dollars, and encourage and support leadership development among their own people – all at once. When people are properly matched to boards, they tend to rise to board leadership positions. They are excited about the boards they are on, so they step up to responsibility and elevate the organizations to higher levels of ambition, performance, and success. The board members’ success is also a function of being properly trained – a matter of only a few hours, and then having easy access to an expert coach.
On a large scale – regionally, nationally, and globally – businesses of all sizes can help transform and strengthen the nonprofit sector by infusing talented people of diverse backgrounds on hundreds of thousands of nonprofit boards that are begging for qualified candidates. The key is proper board matching in addition to quality board training, board coaching, board consulting, and board leadership succession planning in order to facilitate board effectiveness.
Volunteering that involves all employees who are interested, as well as their families, continues to be very important. This can be integrated into a strategic program together with philanthropy and board service, and leveraged for even greater impact.
In this challenging environment, boards matter more than ever before. And talented people who participate on boards will have the experience of their lives in developing leadership while advancing important missions in education, job training and placement, community development, healthcare, the environment, arts, and the economy.
Now THIS is strategic corporate engagement that is a win-win-win for businesses, nonprofits, and communities of the world!