Friday, January 12

Helping Companies Help People: NBCB

There are many bloggers (and companies) who want to change the world, hopefully for the better. Their reasons, motives, and methods are as different as the variety of causes they take up, whether it is within their community, industry, interests, or something else entirely, like tracking the seemingly infinite details in the life of Britney Spears. That's okay too.

My point is that everyone is passionate about something and, with luck, that passion will lead you to answer one of the most important questions you can ask yourself: is my fundamental motivation as a person to be a beneficial presence in the world … in the lives of all those I touch, whether it be at home, at work, in the community, and on the Internet?

It's not a trick question. I am not alluding to any myriad of issues, critiques, politics, religion, and whatnot. Nor am I asking anyone to ask it of someone else. It's a personal question void of all that. With luck, you can answer “I hope so.”

In June 2002, a diverse group of business leaders came together to create Business Strengthening America (BSA), which established a self-directed, multi-year, peer-to-peer effort to engage thousands of America's business leaders in a campaign to encourage civic engagement and service. If you visit the site, you'll see it's largely static, with the freshest content dating back to 2003. What is not static, however, is the idea nor are the hundreds of non-profit endeavors of more than 700 companies and business organizations that joined BSA years ago.

Much more active and up-to-date is USA Freedom Corps, which is an excellent resource for individuals who want to become involved in something. It's endorsed by President George W. Bush, but you don't have to like him to appreciate the larger body of work. In fact, a good part of the concept came from AmeriCorps, which was the one program that President Bill Clinton (it's okay, you don't have to like him either) asked President Bush to keep around. On that, they agreed, even if their parties did not.

Anyway, I know a little about AmeriCorps because I serve as a state commissioner in Nevada. My experience on this commission as well as dozens of other non-pofit organizations and associations is what drives me to maintain another, much less read, blog called the Nevada Business Community Blog. In truth, it's probably less of blog than a newsfeed, highlighting at least one company's charitable action every day (with luck).

The blog doesn't take much effort, really. And, I would strongly support anyone duplicating the idea in their home state: a community web log and news feed for businesses releasing information about their non-profit contributions and volunteer efforts. Why? Well, there really are many ways to change the world and by sharing a daily example of business giving, it might inspire more companies to do so. After all, strategic philanthropy, a concept and practice of business giving has existed in the United States since the early 1950s, has always received a return that exceeds investment. Some companies just don't know that. They also don't know that, if done correctly, strategic philanthropy fits nicely into a strategic communication plan.

Who knows? Perhaps business giving could even inspire some employees (or other interested individuals) to funnel some of their more creative passions into other activities that have a direct, positive, and lasting impact on people, animals, the environment, or whatever else they might think up. I've taken up a few over the years; too many sometimes, I am told. But that's not so bad.

You see, I always hope such efforts (even when I use a living case study in communication as an example on this blog) will eventually lead me to the same answer at the end of the day, a chance to say “I hope so.”


Rich on 1/16/07, 6:07 PM said...

Famous Last Words:

"Corporate giving increases company profits at a rate of return of 200 to 300 percent, according to a new study." —
Association of Fundraising Professionals
, referencing the recent Wall Street Journal article.


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