Home' HR Monthly : December 2015 Contents 30
HOW TO WORK EFFECTIVELY WITH A NON-PROFIT
By Sarah Davies, CEO, Philanthropy Australia
RECOGNISE AND DISCUSS the cultural differences.
A lot of not-for-profits are set up to prevent things
from happening, whereas no corporates do that.
Unless the corporate and not-for-profit discuss their
differences, chances are fur ther down the track
things will get a bit bumpy.
SHOW MUTUAL RESPECT. It’s easy to make judgments
and assumptions about other par ts of the
community. Not-for-profits hear: ‘ You’re a charity.
Surely any help is good help.’ It’s actually not if it
doesn’t deliver and if it costs more than it benefits.
Corporates hear: ‘ You’re a rich corporate, you’ve got
buckets of resources. Why are you being so difficult
about this?’ Both attitudes are unhelpful.
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS IMPORTANT. Law
firm Holding Redlich has a fabulous staff giving
and engagement program that is quite democratic,
with staff able to say what matters to them in terms of
law and justice [causes] . Whereas, other corporates
approach it from a business capacity point of view.
SEEK H E L P. No one has to invent a strategy alone. There
are fabulous examples and case studies [of previous
philanthropic projects] . Everybody in the sector is ver y
keen to share what they’ve learnt and their knowledge,
so nobody has to make the same mistakes twice.
THERE’S VALUE FOR EVERYONE involved in
philanthropic initiatives, including major
employee-engagement benefits. Go ahead and do it!
“If a corporate funds a child-reading program, they now require
that program to be evaluated to see whether it works or not, to see
if there’s a return on their investment.”
Meanwhile, volunteer labour is an increasingly popular form of
corporate giving, with the added benefit of team building. There’s
also an emphasis on more tailored volunteering packages.
“Getting 40 bank tellers arriving on [a not-for-profit’s] doorstep
can be more of a burden than a help,” Dalton says. “Most of the
sector requires [corporates] to pay money for a volunteer manager
to organise a suitable activity, or for materials.”
Siobhan Toohill, group head of Sustainability and Community
at Westpac says the bank’s $100 million scholarship fund is one
end of a spectrum of philanthropic measures, which also includes
disaster relief and programs to improve the status of women and
Indigenous people. She says Westpac has become progressively
clearer on the objectives of its philanthropy, as well as how success
should be evaluated.
“Communities need support at the time of a disaster, but
families are at most threat nine months after a disaster,” she says.
“Giving out grants during that period is quite important. We then
try to go back and understand the impact those grants have made
at a community level. We’re looking at how a community manages
to be resilient through a disaster and in recovery.”
Toohill says Westpac offers staff one day of volunteer leave
a year, and is working to improve the quality and impact of
volunteering. “It’s very powerful to take an hour or t wo every
fortnight to coach a CEO or to sit with an organisation to help
them with a particular strategy or business plan.”
She says volunteering brings major benefits to staff as well.
“I ncreasingly, we are suggesting that as employees work through
their development plans, they consider volunteering or being a
champion for a community organisation as a critical experience.”
Sarah Davies, the CEO of peak giving body Philanthropy
Australia argues there’s a growing focus on corporate
philanthropy thanks to the attitudes of Gen Y job seekers. “The
younger generations coming through are very socially engaged,
very socially and environmentally aware. They look for meaning
and purpose in all areas of their lives, including their professional
lives,” she says.
Davies says while there’s a diversity of approaches, she agrees
many larger corporates are trying to zero in on causes that are
relevant to their goals. “They’re saying ‘what’s our core business,
what’s our core capacity, what does the supply chain look like and
what do our customers and market look like?’ And within that
where are the opportunities?”
Approaches to the sector are continually evolving as corporates
see the major benefits that philanthropy can bring, she says. “It’s
good for business, for shareholders, for staff and customers,
and of course, it’s good for the community that the particular
organisation works within.”
“WE ARE SUGGESTING THAT AS
EMPLOYEES WORK THROUGH
THEIR DEVELOPMENT PLANS, THEY
SIOBHAN TOOHILL, GROUP HEAD OF SUSTAINABILITY
AND COMMUNIT Y, WESTPAC
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