Charitable Causes Strapped for Funds? Better Shift Your Thinking.
In all our work with the charitable sector, one theme emerges constantly and that is a lack of resources. Resources to deliver much-needed services, resources to build brand recognition and reputation through marketing and communications, resources to attract and retain the best and brightest talent, resources to build much-needed capacity. At Ramp, we believe that a key to overcoming the resource barrier is multi-sector collaboration – that is the public, private and non-profit sectors working together in new and creative ways to solve problems.
Last week Ramp was lucky enough to be a community and business booth sponsor of Volunteer Canada’s In Good Company event, a community building forum for businesses and non-profits. Our interest for this year’s event was piqued when we learned of the theme – Building Strong and Connected Communities. Our purpose at Ramp is to create a vibrant social profit sector, truly capable of making waves and solving our generation’s most urgent challenges.
Advancement of the social profit sector will come not just from traditional non-profit advertising and cause marketing but also stronger business-community engagement, capacity building, and creative problem solving.
So, what did we learn?
- When organizations work together each bringing their own unique expertise to bear, magic can happen. Take for instance the Connected North program, spearheaded by CISCO systems. This project is a unique partnership between governments, private sector partners, community leaders and NGOs and uses video collaboration technology to bring education and mental healthcare services to youth in Northern Canada.
- There’s a growing segment of our population that, after long and successful careers are exiting their roles and looking for social impact. Charities and non-profits need to understand the needs of this group and how to capitalize on these skilled and talented resources. Innovative companies like The V Generation are helping people maximize the value of their time, energy, talents and experience and organizations like CESO are putting them to work on national and international community development assignments.
- Group volunteering programs can be an excellent win-win. Charities win because they can leverage a large pool of engaged and committed volunteers to help their cause and corporations win because group volunteering can be an excellent team building and employee engagement strategy. As our good colleague, Pauline James of Anchor-HR, says “Employee involvement in a social cause connected with their workplace promotes a sense of belonging with an employer and a sense of purpose which helps drive employee engagement and in turn a stronger emotional connection to the organization and its goals.” In fact, 83% of staff at Aviva say that volunteering improved their motivation.
- Transformational companies have nineteen core qualities among them. To cite a few, they have a sustainable purpose and a long-term vision. They are solutions-oriented and inclusive. They engage in multi-stakeholder collaboration and public policy advocacy. The full list is available here: cbsr.ca/transformationalcompany. During the session facilitated by Stephen Fish of CBSR, the participants identified many great examples of organizations embracing these qualities. For example, as part of its “Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy,” the United Way of Toronto and York Region has improved access to services through the creation of community hubs that bring together a range of services under one roof in the neighbourhoods that need them most. The services offered by the hubs are tailored to each individual community based on community consultation and collaboration. Marketing and community outreach is centralized to improve effectiveness and cost efficiency and keep individual agencies focused on providing the much-needed services.
Whether you need to build organization capacity, deliver more services faster, increase brand recognition and awareness or change minds through your cause marketing, there is surely a way that multi-sector collaboration can help.
If you are interested in this too, give us a shout.