Tag Archives: CSR

Charitable Giving…A Wise Investment

As business leaders, we’re often asked to donate to charity. Whether it’s in the form of personal contributions, direct corporate giving or corporate sponsorship, we receive requests on a regular basis.

Having served the non-profit sector for 25 years, I’m continually involved with corporate giving, either as a business owner or charitable volunteer. I’m frequently asked why businesses are called upon as often as they are. What I’ve grown to understand are two primary reasons:
1. Business leaders have direct access to marketing, advertising and charitable budget line items.
2. Business leaders understand non-profits and, in many cases, serve on non-profit boards.

There are many reasons why corporate leaders invest in charitable organizations. Businesses have an opportunity to make a difference and a dollar. Strong corporations invest in not-for-profit efforts to:

  • recognize and celebrate its corporate values
  • emphasize the importance of ethical business practices
  • provide positive public relations
  • build customer confidence
  • enhance employee morale
  • maintain philanthropic goodwill
  • increase sales leads and transactions
  • strengthen the community
  • And, of course, it’s the right thing to do.

All of this points to responsibility…a responsibility of businesses to increase revenues and a responsibility to help others.

Positioning corporate giving to be effective for both the business and the supported organizations is not a difficult process. It can be easily blended with existing marketing strategies or function separately from existing plans. Regardless of its official capacity within your business, here are suggestions to maximize your corporate giving.

  1. Assess current giving. Take a good, hard look at your past and current giving practices. What percentage of pre-tax profits is allocated for charitable pursuits? Review the organizations, purposes and methods of giving; then evaluate the benefits received. Can you identify a relationship to your corporate mission, marketing plan and staff connections?
  2. Design a strategy. As you plan your giving, consider your charitable budget. Identify the projects, organizations or sectors you wish to support. Determine the benefits, particularly outreach, sales leads, visibility and impact you wish to gain.
  3. Monitor contributions. Maintain relationships with the beneficiaries of your charitable investment to ensure proper delivery of benefits, use of funds and public awareness.
  4. Assess and plan. Evaluate the effectiveness of the giving strategy and its execution. Make changes, design a new strategy, identify new beneficiaries; all are actions you will likely address to strengthen your charitable giving plan.

Corporate leaders recognize the difficulty in giving away money, particularly marked by a lack of information, guidance and tools required to make wise decisions. Being able to identify the best for-profit investments is a hugely valuable talent and a massive industry has grown up around it. Solid nonprofit analysis is just as valuable.

No matter what strategy you use to make your charitable giving decisions, it makes good business sense to ensure effectiveness, both to the beneficiary and your corporation. A properly executed giving program will generate tremendous value through community impact and revenue generation.

1% – small number, big community impact


Generosity helps solve problems, by creating opportunities to do things in new ways, for the greater good. We want to celebrate generosity, so that more people will support the causes they care about and the organizations which carry out the great work…and feel satisfied about doing it.

We believe that philanthropy is driven by the power of collective action to create lasting change. By making donating money easy and exciting, creating ways for businesses to contribute effectively, and amplifying impact through collective giving, NPcatalyst is actively creating innovative and empowering ways to enhance the community.

A company’s decision about how much to give for charitable and community purposes can be influenced by its annual profit levels, long-term strategic giving goals, business priorities, and a host of other factors. Some companies target a specific percentage of their pre-tax earnings to donate each year; others do not. Some try to give the same percentage of their pre-tax earnings to charity each year, while others vary the percentage year by year.

NPcatalyst is encouraging businesses to contribute just one percent of their annual revenue. While many businesses may prefer to contribute more, we believe this is a good start. Through our active participation, we are committed to spurring innovation in philanthropy, the non-profit sector, and the problems they aim to solve.

There are popular 1%-oriented programs available to the greater public…for the arts, for the environment, etc. At NPcatalyst, we’re simply interested in 1%, in general, encouraging businesses to choose the sector and organization they wish to support.

If you’re a business leader who’s interested in becoming more strategic about corporate giving, perhaps contributing 1% of your business’s annual revenue, give us a call. In fact, contact us if you’ve already given 1%…you never know, we might be interested in promoting your community leadership in effective and innovative ways.

We can be found at www.NPcatalyst.com, info@NPcatalyst.com, and 775-333-9444.

NPcatalyst setting the standard in community engagement, charitable giving

NPcatalyst, L.L.C. setting the standard in community engagement

NPcatalyst, L.L.C. (formerly Parker Development Services), a Reno-based firm, works with corporate and non-profit clients to achieve measured community-driven results. Services feature strategy development, charitable giving facilitation, and public awareness through a best practices-driven model.

Passionate about the non-profit sector, managing partner, Pete Parker, believes active community engagement will positively impact each community’s economy, leadership and charitable outreach. “Our quest is to set the standard of giving and create models of excellence with our clients.” To aid in his quest and provide leadership to businesses of all sizes, he added a partner with extensive corporate management experience.

“I am pleased to be part of this team as I recognize the many benefits corporations can realize through strategic involvement and connections with communities and their many philanthropies”, states Jeff Lenardson, also a managing partner of the firm. With over 20 years of entrepreneurial success in both Southern California and Northern Nevada, Lenardson brings valuable knowledge from the corporate sector. “I also believe in applying best practices and validation to a fragmented non-profit space to help organizations and individuals make informed gifting decisions.”

The NPcatalyst website features a growing list of non-profit organizations seeking financial and voluntary leadership. “Focused and active community engagement builds strong leaders, businesses, and non-profit organizations, which creates thriving philanthropic synergies”, says Parker.

Learn more about NPcatalyst at www.NPcatalyst.com and 775-333-9444.


About NPcatalyst
NPcatalyst strengthens communities by creating, managing, and leveraging opportunities with its key community stakeholders: individual citizens, businesses, foundations and non-profit organizations. Our charter is to set the standard of philanthropic excellence through effective and value-driven best practices.

Radio show discussing community engagement


I was invited by Jeffrey Benjamin, owner of Breakthrough Training, to his radio show to share my tips and habits as they relate to community leadership. Jeff’s an amazing leadership coach, who finds considerable value in connecting leaders with opportunities. His show airs each at 9:30am each Sunday morning on 99.1FM talk radio (http://www.991fmtalk.com/).

A taped interview, I now invite you to listen to the six-minute show. It was originally aired in September 2010 and is timeless and applicable in any city…not just Reno, where it was taped. Here’s the link: http://soundcloud.com/breakthroughtraining/jeffrey-benjamin-speaks-with-pete-parker

Jeff and I had a great, albeit brief, conversation about community outreach and the value found through businesses, business leaders and local citizens…not to mention non-profit organizations and the communities they strive to improve.

We addressed the potential leadership shortage, which includes giving of both time and dollar, and the need to link people with community opportunities…now. One of my favorite quotes was the one where I linked personal excitement (like goosebumps) to contributing…a generator of tremendous satisfaction.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, although we could have spoken for hours on community engagement. Sincerely thankful for the opportunity, I look forward to working with Jeff and leaders like him, who wish to develop stronger relations with the community and its benefit organizations.

If you’re interested in learning more about community engagement/giving opportunities, how to start the process, or wish to share your own ideas, do not hesitate to contact me (petep@npcatalyst.com; 775-333-9444).

Yours in Community!

Skills-based volunteerism achieves results for non-profits and businesses

By Pete Parker 

Skills-based volunteerism has been around for ages, beginning primarily with pro bono work within the legal sector. In recent years, it has played an increasingly key role throughout the corporate sector.

According to the 2009 Deloitte IMPACT Study, skills-based volunteerism can best be described as:

  • Volunteerism which uses skills, experience, talents or education. Impacts corporations, organizations and individuals. Uses existing skills and develops new ones
  • Volunteerism which finds the intersection of high impact skills that match with characteristics needed by local nonprofits.
  • Individuals who volunteer their skills or talents or experience to support a nonprofit project or organization.

Non-profit organizations are highly driven in realizing their social missions, but they are often faced with business issues that hands-on volunteering cannot address and that financial contributions often cannot meet.

Skills-based volunteering is rapidly gaining recognition as a powerful driver of social impact and business value. “Skills-based volunteer programs provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for employees that build business and leadership skills without the expense often associated with traditional corporate training programs,” said Evan Hochberg, Deloitte Services LP national director of community involvement, in a press release.

The benefits of SBV (Skills-Based Volunteerism) count many and affect both the corporation providing the human capital, as well as the causes and organizations receiving the expertise. Below are just a handful of the benefits:

Corporate benefits of skills-based volunteerism:

  • Enhances existing and develops new employee skills
  • Expands corporate in-kind opportunity
  • Permits more in-depth relationships with non-profit organizations
  • Enhances reputation of company and its values

Benefits to non-profit organizations:

  • Access to needed management skills/expertise
  • An outside perspective on strategic issues
  • Helps solve organizational issues that staff are not able to take on
  • Volunteers = ambassadors, supporters
  • May lead to new donors

According to the Taproot Foundation, a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society, pro bono service deepens your reputation as a good corporate citizen. The Foundation also states that:

  • Surveys show that corporate citizenship is now the top driver of reputation;
  • Companies engaged in corporate social responsibility had a 10-year return on equity that was 10% higher than their counterparts and a 10 year relative return to shareholders that was 65% higher;
  • Most Americans regard the donation of products and employee time more favorably than financial support; and,
  • The dollar valuation of an hour of pro bono service is nearly 10x that of traditional volunteer activities, adding significantly to your annual total community giving and impact.

Corporate leaders are just now beginning to recognize the value of skills-based volunteerism. Whether they hire executive leaders or local service brokers to manage these programs, they are recognizing positive benefits within their companies. “Corporate America has yet to fully tap the benefits of integrating skills-based volunteerism into talent development strategies and programs,” said Susan Burnett, Deloitte Services LP national director of talent development.

The Points of Light Institute, which strives to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world, is a leader in the volunteer-service movement. The organization believes that more agencies must seize the opportunity to leverage talent and that more businesses are eager to activate around their brand and core business.

Don’t hesitate to learn more about skills-based volunteerism and designing effective corporate-community investment programs, by contacting Pete Parker (petep@npcatalyst.com; 775-333-9444).

Newsletter #2 – Making Community Involvement work in businesses and families.


Welcome to the second newsletter from Parker Development Services, a small company focused on creating and leveraging opportunities for non-profit and corporate growth.



In this issue you’ll find interesting articles about:

  • Realizing corporate growth through community investments of capital and volunteerism (click here for the article); and,
  • Recognizing the impact people can make within their communities (click here for the article).

You’ll also learn that we’re helping 52 community-benefit organizations find new donors and volunteers (click here to see the list).

And lastly, that we’re conducting assessments of community engagement, at no charge, to help businesses and individuals/families understand their current giving practices and, if interested, determine ways of creating greater good.

Enjoy the newsletter!


What’s Your Philanthropic Footprint?

By Pete Parker

Do you or your business follow a charitable giving “plan”, or similar strategy, to make donations of time and dollar to charitable organizations?

  • If you do, is it working for you…for your business…for the community? Could you (or your business) be leveraging your giving to generate positive awareness, seek new customers, develop new friendships and relationships, recruit quality employees, and community goodwill more than you currently do?
  • If you don’t follow a plan, does this short list of benefits intrigue and interest you?

In the same light, what is your philanthropic “path”? Is it well paved and follow a pre-determined direction? Or, does it veer in several different directions? If you’re like many, your giving might be dictated simply as a result of being asked, regardless of the charitable cause or purpose. I ask because the vast majority of strong charitable organizations value the relationships they develop with their donors and volunteers. In fact, perhaps ideally like you, they’re looking to develop long-lasting and mutually-beneficial partnerships.

Many people and businesses receive requests to contribute to charities on a regular basis. In many cases, donors answer the call to donate money and volunteer their time. Giving triggers a sense of personal satisfaction and encourages us to believe that we’re making a difference and improvement in the lives of those we support. Some of us, though, would prefer that giving be handed according to our own terms and for needs closely aligned with our interests.

So, imagine the difference you can make if you followed a giving strategy…or ‘philanthropic’ plan. I bet you’d create closer connections to the charities (and their leaders) you support and, as a bonus, feel an even greater feeling of excitement through your passionate generosity. This targeted approach to giving enables you to filter your support as well as track your participation. Witnessing the impact created from your involvement is both exciting (via an immediate return) and vital to your future support.

It’s not much different from a corporate perspective, as businesses can create outstanding awareness, generate new leads and sales, recruit and retain top staff, and create fulfilling community partnerships.

So, I challenge you…our current and aspiring community leaders…to take a close look at your giving activities. Determine what’s working for you and if you’re interested in enhancing your “philanthropic” footprint. If you’d like help evaluating your giving practices, take a few minutes to complete a brief Giving Assessment.

Thriving communities rely upon inspired and active community members…aka leaders. What role do you or would you like to play?

Community Investments as Vehicles for Corporate Growth

By Pete Parker

As a business leader, what is your impression of the non-profit community? Do you view the organizations within the sector as always seeking support in their attempt to create impact? Or, do you look at community organizations as vehicles of opportunity; vehicles of performance; vehicles of growth?

As a leader of your company, you’re continually looking for ways to maximize the return on your investments, particularly the funds spent on people and marketing. You incorporate all the typical (tried and true) methods of generating profits. But have you ever considered viewing the non-profit sector as an investment?

It’s likely that your business receives countless requests from local charities to make donations, sponsor events, or contribute to people in need. And, it’s likely that you’ve supported these organizations either through your marketing, charitable contributions, and/or advertising budgets for truly noble reasons. If you or your business has supported causes or organizations, kudos to you. There’s no doubt that your support met deserving community needs.

Have you ever leveraged your community investments? If you haven’t viewed the non-profit sector as a vehicle for corporate growth, you might consider taking a deeper look. As you do, you might want to keep in mind the potential value driven by corporate donations and employee volunteerism.

For example, did you ever think that one of your company’s best practices could be to feature employee volunteerism as one method of retaining your most qualified personnel? Not only are you adding a level of flexibility to your staff member’s daily routine, you’re enabling your staffer to become more in-tune and connected with the community. If you typically send staff to conferences to pick up new skills, you’ll see considerable savings (and improved skills retention) by encouraging staff members to volunteer in roles which could provide benefit to your company. One idea would be to send an accounting staffer to a non-profit organization which has an opportunity on its marketing and/or development committees.

    As a result of Illinois-based, Adventist Midwest Health’s strategic plan, which aims to improve employee engagement and patient satisfaction, employee turnover has decreased and employee satisfaction has increased.

And for example, do you completely leverage the benefits offered through event sponsorships? With most, sponsors receive a table (or foursome), where they’re able to bring guests. Well, could you fill the spots with top clients or hot prospective clients? Most sponsorship benefits include public displays of your image (on letters, posters, advertisements, programs and/or websites. Rather than simply send a logo, you might think about sending along a message (like your mission, or a call-to-action). How about placing a reciprocal link with the charity’s logo (and reason for supporting) on your website? Would you consider issuing a press release announcing your partnership with the community organization?

    According to the 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Environmental Survey, “There has been a shift in the value equation: good business used to be primarily about providing quality products/services at a fair value. But this is no longer sufficient for competitive differentiation. Companies need to display humanity and support issues that resonate with stakeholders to build emotional relevance and loyalty.”

These are just two examples to leveraging (and impacting) your company’s marketing and human resources efforts…or in a different light…your human and financial capital.

    The UK-based Charities Aid Foundation, states it quite clearly, a successful community investment program can build partnerships with mutual benefit to your company and society; boost staff morale and company loyalty; develop your employees’ skills; enhance your company’s image and reputation; and, influence how government and local bodies see your organization.

Whether in difficult or strong economic climates, leaders in both the corporate and non-profit sectors need to continually look at opportunities for growth. When these leaders realize the strength and potential for excellence created through synergistic partnerships, everyone wins…the corporation; the community organization; and most of all, the community.

Corporate Success Can Be Found Through Community, Citizenship

By Pete Parker

Running a business during these economic times has been and will continue to be extremely challenging. Whether it’s managing a large corporation or small business, today’s business leaders must change as the overall business environment changes.  While there doesn’t appear to an ideal formula for success, corporations are beginning to take greater stock in their local communities.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is not a new term…although it’s beginning to generate greater traction. According to ecomii, “CSR is the concept that an organization has obligations not just to conduct its business and adhere to legal guidelines, but also to look out for the welfare of its employees, the community, and society at large.” Many businesses are making social responsibility a priority, not just to increase bottom lines, but because it’s the right thing to do.

According to a new report by the Conference Board, “a majority of the officials said their highest priority is to better align their company’s giving with its business needs.” Nearly half, for example, said they were placing more emphasis this year on tying giving to brand awareness and visibility.

Creating CSR strategies is becoming increasingly popular, but could also be costly for small businesses. Many, however, are creating corporate “citizenship” strategies, which focus on “creating higher standards of living and quality of life in the communities in which they operate, while still preserving profitability for stakeholders (Answers.com).” Businesses developing citizenship strategies have been focusing on corporate-to-community giving plans, predominantly centering on financial support and employee volunteerism. The Conference Board report also reflected on the importance of corporate volunteerism by revealing that nearly half of the companies plan to increase their efforts to get their empl0yees to volunteer.

As vital as they are to a corporation’s success, many businesses have yet to jump onto the citizenship bandwagon. Proof is found in the recently released 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Perception Study, which queried the general public during February 2010. Interesting stats were found, including “only 11% of people received communications about CSR from any company in the past year.” However, it was also shared that “70% of respondents voiced willingness to pay more for products from socially-responsible companies.” Bringing things closer to the corporate family, “34% of employees would take a pay cut to work for a socially-responsible firm.”

As the business environment continues to change, the requirement for staying & succeeding in business is also changing. As a result, corporations (small and large) are emphasizing the maintenance of strategic relationship with society and, particularly, their local communities.

Pete Parker is a consultant working with charitable organizations, as well as individual and corporate donors, to design and manage successful philanthropic strategies.