Tag Archives: networking

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.

Seven tips for fundraising success


Raising funds for charitable organizations can be difficult; certainly time-consuming. It’s a patient process, requiring considerable research, planning, and organization. The word “development” is a perfect fit to the process an organization goes through to generate a meaningful contribution.

When it comes to raising funds for your organizations, here’s a handful of tips to consider adding to your overall fund development strategy. They have represented the centerpiece of our success. They’re not listed in any specific order, but you’ll quickly recognize where and how they fit in your strategy.
Identify strengths and weaknesses

Understand the organization – from operations to personnel to policies to financial management. Recognize the causes and implement solutions to each. Be sure to dot every “I” and cross every “t”.

Offer innovative giving

The one constant between most non-profit organizations is the ability to accept cash contributions. Every donor knows this. However, savvy donors (charitable investors) seek greater information, transparency, accountability, and results from their contributions. A strong percentage of them seek unique and innovative giving methods.

Create solicitation strategies

Know your constituents. An engaged leader is a gem and, as nonprofit leaders, it’s our obligation to strive for their full potential. One great way to really get to know supporters is to design solicitation (or engagement) strategies for each. Start by creating a Prospect/Donor Profile for each, used to document their interest, involvement, willingness, and capability. Mapping a solicitation strategy will force you to be strategic about cultivating each constituent’s involvement. This one act involves and is influenced by the other six tips offered here.

Engage constituents

From prospect identification to board leadership to donor stewardship, your benefactors are your organization’s greatest vehicles of success. Engage them through key steps of the fund development process. You’ll be amazed at their ideas, insight, and perseverance.

Generate active awareness

Tell your story to the world. Shout it regularly through local media and through your social media avenues. Be sure you focus on strengths and opportunities and that any weaknesses are addressed. Distribute clear messages and keep your messaging timely. Encourage staff, volunteers, and donors to share the messages through personal, personable, and electronic means.


It’s a seven-letter word that, for many non-profit leaders, is more like a four-letter word – work. There’s no better way to prospect new supporters, whether they’re future volunteer or donor leaders. It involves stepping out of your routine, forces you to fine-tune your 30-second elevator speech, and smile even if you’re having a difficult day. Ask any business leader, networking produces results. Get out there and make friends and share your organization’s story, needs, and opportunities.

Steward donors

Perhaps the most detrimental cause of recent organizational failure might not have been solely the economic crash. Is your organization at fault for not properly recognizing donations and, more importantly, developing strong relationships with its donors? Stewarding donors strengthens the lifeblood of non-profit organizations. Pick up the phone, send an email, direct a tweet, say hello in the store, high-five at a ballgame, and send a card. These are the little ways that magnify the “engage constituents” tip into truly rewarding alliances. Make each donor feel as if he/she is in the middle of the game.


Perhaps one that should be listed is “have fun”…development and non-profit leadership should be exciting, rewarding, meaningful, challenging, and fun. Make the most of it!


100 most influential leaders recognized this Friday

We’re excited to attend an event this Friday at the Atlantis Resort Casino, where 100 of the most influential people in Reno/Sparks will be recognized by Plum Influence Magazine.

Celebrate the courage and character of Reno with the 100 most influential people of our region.

The event recognizes leaders in the following categories:

  • Super Heroes
  • Business Owners & Industry Experts
  • Community Leaders
  • Foodies
  • Extraordinary neighbors
  • Charity Drivers
  • Artists and Icons
  • Scientists
  • Savvy Techs
  • Risk Takers and Visionaries

There are ten people within the ten different categories which make up the full list of 100 and only one of them will be awarded as the top influencer within their category.

We’ll be there to support our own Pete Parker and network with his fellow “most influential” leaders in our area. We encourage other to also buy a table and attend what expects to be an incredible networking opportunity, but also a showcase of everything positive in northern Nevada.

Here’s a link to see the Full Plum100 Listhttp://issuu.com/pluminfluencemagazine_reno/docs/plum100

Nevada Matters featured Plum 100 and their event on a recent radio show. Click here to listen to the 30-minute show.
Event Details
  • Plum100, The100 Most Influential People of Reno/Tahoe
  • Plum Influence Magazine
  • Friday, September 28, 2012 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (PDT)
  • Atlantis Resort Casino, Reno, NV

See you there!


NPcatalyst introduce a “Community Connection Map” to bolster business sales and community alliances


Do you wonder where your staff members volunteer in the community? What about the professional membership and affiliations or the places they network? Do you recognized employees for their community involvement? Have you ever considered volunteerism as an avenue of corporate growth? Have you leveraged your company’s community engagement for positive brand awareness?

The NPcatalyst team has designed a tool which takes a virtual snapshot of a company’s community connection. Through our Community Connection Mapping product, clients receive a “map” of their community leadership. The goal is to empower community engagement and generate increased revenue, and foster economic growth.

We have found that by identifying both existing relationships and new opportunities, our clients are better positioned to strategically target new paths of success. End results include a positive impact on local communities and exceptional value back to the corporation.

The Community Connection Mapping can be applied beyond the workforce. It’s also designed to provide significant value to membership associations, networking groups, and non-profit leadership boards.

To learn more about this unique product, visit www.NPcatalyst.com, email info@NPcatalyst.com or call us at 775-333-9444. Orders placed online receive discounted pricing. Sign up today!

Networking Presentation at Parasol

I gave another presentation on Networking this past Tuesday to roughly 70 non-profit leaders at the monthly Parasol Community Collaboration meeting. I was supposed to give a 40-minute presentation, but speaking to the captivated audience lasted one hour.

I wanted to focus on face-to-face (or traditional) networking, because I believe we, as non-profit leaders, are spending more time in our offices than out making connections and sharing our message. Case in point, the vast majority of those in the Parasol audience “network” at similar, non-profit-based activities, where they “connect” with NPO leaders and not nearby professional, philanthropic and social leaders.

Though I’m not a big fan of Powerpoint, I used it to aid my presentation. Reason being, is that I spent some time on social media. This ever-growing networking opportunity has progressed since my February presentation to another group of non-profit leaders. The file is attached to this blog if you want to download the powerpoint presentation. If you can’t find nor open it, email me and I’ll send one directly to you.



Networking for Non-Profit Success


Originally posted on 2/20/09 at http://parkerdevelopment.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/networking-for…profit-success/.





Networking for Non-Profit Success

I was asked a few weeks ago by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Northern Nevada Chapter) to be the presenting speaker at the February luncheon. After a good laugh, I asked about the subject matter. The response was Networking. After another good laugh, I accepted…on a condition (we’ll get to that).
Now, I love to network. With each person I meet or get connected to, a new possibility or opportunity emerges. Because I’m on a personal (and now, professional) mission to enhance the level of philanthropy and community action in our community, I’m constantly participating in networking activities. However, difficulties arose when I began to prepare for my presentation.
I tend to put all my effort into everything I do, whether it relates to a client, a volunteer activity or program or my friends and family. So, when I began to think about my presentation, considerable stress insued. See, networking is all about connecting with others, sharing stories and creating opportunities. This is just as important for the corporate sector as it is the non-profit community. Problem is, I was limited to time on a subject that I absolutely love and find incredibly valuable.
I spearheaded my research by sending a survey to all those on the local AFP mailing list. I was curious to see if my hunches were correct. These included:

  • very few non-profit leaders actively participate in network opportunities, particularly those of the “traditional” sense
  • very few non-profit executives knew about social media
  • many non-profit professionals were hesitant to participate in both


It was a very simple survey and only completed by 30% of our membership, but it proved my thoughts.  If you’re interested, here’s the link to the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=VBd1q7956Y9WzFg9dTY1UQ_3d_3d. In fact, go ahead and complete it (90 seconds of your life). I’ll present the results soon.

Since they asked me, one of their own, to present on networking, I was destined to provide considerable information, as opposed to making it an open forum for Q & A. I did, however, conduct a “speed networking” exercise (my original demand).

This was required for three specific reasons. First, networking can be a bit frightening if you either don’t know how to start a conversation or are afraid to step outside your “comfort zone.” Second, I only see four or five other non-profit professionals on the local networking circuit. While this benefits the small group of us, it doesn’t speak well to our local non-profit community. And lastly, NPOs can easily apply the method, internally, at donor receptions, volunteer trainings and new staff orientations. I think the exercise went well.

I allocated half of my presentation on “traditional” networking, as just described, as well as social media. I’ve been using social media for some time now, but was amazed at the amount of information regarding social networking. Holy cow did I find a lot. Making matters worse (and stress), I couldn’t stop researching the topic.

I hadn’t planned on using Powerpoint with my presentation but, since I’m a stat and info freak, I decided to use it. I prefer speaking, person to person (individual and group), rather than using a display. I prefer eyes on me and for people to truly listen to me almost as much as I listen to them. I think using Powerpoint was very effective, given that most people in the room hadn’t seen any social media stats.

Rather than going into great detail about the networking presentation, take a look at it for yourself.


It’s also located on my website at  http://www.npcatalyst.com/networkingpresentation-mini.ppt. If it doesn’t load properly, then drop me an email at petep (at) npcatalyst.com.

Make it a great day.