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BELLWETHER

Doing More than Good Volume 3 | Issue 2 | Second Quarter 2012


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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012


Letter from the Editor

5

Leadership

6

Sales and Marketing

9

10

Big Brands,

BIG

Going

sections

Encouragement is not costly to give, but priceless to receive. ~unknown author

Cover Story

Not-For-Profit... 14 with a

Industry News

16

Book Report

22

Customer Relationships

24

Social Media

26

Human Resources

30

We give to charity!

with Charity

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18

Putting Corporate Money Where the Meaning Is

Giving in the Social World - Don’t Brag, Share

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bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

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Need to improve sales? Improve lead quality?

effective

Lower the cost of lead generation?

Worried about being left behind in social media?

Do you know where to start? We are here to help. Blytheco Advanced Marketing will help you take your business to the next level. We will help you increase leads, measure the results

ADVANCED MARKETING

and improve revenue.

www.blytheco.com/bam


LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR

BELLWETHER

A Blytheco, LLC Magazine Volume 3 Second Quarter, 2012 www.blytheco.com www.bellwethermagazine.com

STAFF

EDITOR Apryl Hanson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Went

OPEN FOR AD

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alicia Anderson Dave Barret Lynn Berman Theresa Boros Eyal Danon Apryl Hanson Cortez NaPue Genie Whitehouse Bill Wiersma ADVERTISING SALES Dori Fitch SUBSCRIPTIONS www.bellwethermagazine.com Or contact Dori Fitch (800) 425-9843, Extension 1168 dorif@blytheco.com Bellwether Magazine is published by Blytheco, LLC with principal offices at: 23161 Mill Creek Road Suite 200 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 If you wish to be removed from the mailing list or to add names to the mailing list, send your request, including name, business name, and mailing address to the above address or to dorif@blytheco.com This is a copyrighted publication and all articles herein are covered by this copyright. Any use of the content for commercial reasons or other form or reproduction of material herein is strictly prohibited without prior, written approval of Bellwether Magazine.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

5


LEADERSHIP

by Bill Wiersma

W

all Street trader Phillip Meyer (quoted in a 2010 article in Time) noted, “If running the economy off the cliff makes you money, you will do it, and you will do it every day of the week.” Meyer is referring to the willingness of some Wall Street traders (and, by default, their firms) to make money at any cost—even if it meant throwing the entire country under the bus and into disarray. I choose to believe that Meyer’s declaration does not apply to every trader or every Wall Street firm. Yet, if you’re not outraged by the self-serving shenanigans by some in business (whether on Wall Street or not) in recent years, you haven’t been paying attention. Some have argued that the sole purpose of a business is to make money—the more the better. Yet, as Rosabeth Moss Kanter reminds us in a November, 2011 Harvard Business Review article, a business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, each and every business is ultimately interdependent with the greater society and, as such, has certain inherent responsibilities to that society. In other words, making money is an obvious imperative, but it isn’t the whole picture. A healthy business requires a healthy society. Kanter advocates that the great companies she has studied ‘think differently.’ These companies, representing a variety of industries from all over the world, think of themselves more as an institution than merely a money-making machine intent on maximizing short-term profits. Said another way, these companies take a long term perspective. They invest in their customers and the greater communities they serve. Demonstrating a return on some of these investments can prove dicey. They do it anyway! In other words, they’re ‘doing more than good.’ Certainly providing a valued product or service to the marketplace is a big part of the good a company does. It’s also good that a company is able to provide valued employment opportunities or becomes an important source of much-needed tax revenues for the public sector (which depends almost exclusively on them). As wonderful as these things are, Kanter suggests that great companies do a little more. Kanter’s findings are similar to my own; namely that successful (and sustainable) companies are populated by people who think differently. In her article, Kanter alludes to an especially important mind-set I’ve identified that is held by professionals; namely that “a professional realizes (and acts like) they’re part of something bigger than themselves.” Indeed this is ‘thinking differently’ when contrasted against the traditional view that ‘the sole purpose of a business is to make money’---something Wall Street trader Phillip Meyer apparently believed. The ‘something bigger’ mind-set influences both how one conducts business and, in some instances, can influence the very purpose of the business itself. Consider these three unique ways:

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012


Solving Uniquely Personal Problems

Transforming How We Live

• Medtronic, a world leader in medical technologies, is changing the face of chronic disease. Its higher purpose is to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend lives. Absent the types of products Medtronic develops, people die.

• Apple. Whether having greater access to the sources of our favorite music, having our mobile phone double as a virtual assistant, or downloading the Wall Street Journal on an iPad, Apple has enhanced lives. For some, it’s been transformational.

• TOMS Shoes, a for-profit entity, has a unique proposition— buy a pair of shoes from them and they’ll give a pair to a child in need. Since September 2010 TOMS has given away over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need all over the world.

• Considered by many to be the world’s leading design firm, IDEO of Palo Alto, CA creates innovative products and services for many of the world’s leading companies. Their efforts have given rise to, among other things, the first laptop computer, the Palm V, and the Apple mouse.

• Most of us are familiar with Gore-Tex, the breathable, waterproof fabric used extensively in outerwear. But W.L. Gore’s technologies are also used extensively in pharmaceuticals, filtration devices, and a host of other applications. In the medical field alone, more than 25 million Gore implants have helped patients around the world live longer, healthier lives. It’s easy to see how the founders set up these companies in such a way as to enable them to be a part of something bigger than the founder themselves. Their higher purpose was to enhance people’s lives---in a very personal way.

Addressing Pressing Societal Problems • Problem: The lack of clean drinking water—especially in the third-world. HaloSource—a Bothell, Washington company— has developed technology which instantly kills bacteria in water. The solution is low-cost and works without electricity or piped water. • Problem: the need to reduce the country’s enormous energy foot-print. Wal-Mart has made a significant long-term commitment to renewable energy. More importantly, Wal-Mart recognizes that through its enormous purchasing power it can help take the solar market to scale. In doing so, the industry’s costs should drop. Walmart has been willing to relax its shortterm ROI requirements for investments in solar with the hope of reaping lower costs in the future. The company is taking the larger view---resulting in expected wins for the solar industry, Wal-Mart itself, and for the nation.

• Alice Waters---owner of the renowned Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, CA---is a American pioneer in culinary philosophy. Many of our current trends in food (fresh, healthy, sustainable) are directly attributable to Waters’ influence. Each of the founders of these entities set out to do great work, not get rich. Yet because the quality of their work was so exemplary, each made more money than they would have ever imagined. Your company may not be attempting to solve a vexing societal problem, transforming an industry, or saving people’s lives. But wanting to serve a higher purpose has no limitations. It takes many forms. For example, Portland based Umpqua bank allows employees 40 hours of paid time off annually to volunteer. Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company, commits up to 10% of their profits to causes of their choosing. In today’s vernacular—it’s called ‘giving back.’ Professionals see the world in a certain way. Indeed, they think differently. Their mind-sets are what make them unique. Desiring to be a part of ‘something bigger than oneself’ is one of those mind-sets. Paraphrasing Harvard’s Rakesh Khurana, the professional expects to create value for society, not extract it. If a company’s sole purpose is to make money—it’s harder to do great work, harder for employees to believe in the company as an institution, harder to be a truly great company.

• Problem: The need to reduce scrap steel in landfills. Since the advent of Nucor’s mini-mill technology in 1969, the company has turned scrap steel into new product. In turn, Nucor has become North America’s largest steel producer. Notice how each of these companies core purpose was linked to a significant societal problem. Was their motivation purely altruistic? No. Each hoped ‘to do well (financially speaking) by doing good.’

About the Author Bill Wiersma is the principal of Wiersma and Associates, LLC, a consulting firm that helps leaders create cultures centered on professional ideals. His expertise has been featured in numerous media outlets--including the New York Times. Bill, the author of two critically acclaimed books, is a trusted advisor to executive leadership on senior team development and organizational culture. His latest book is “The Power of Professionalism”

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

7


LEADERSHIP

Toot Toot Tooting Our Own Horn N

by Alicia Anderson

ot to toot our own horn or anything, but in this issue devoted to service, we thought it only right to recognize Blytheco’s own CEO Stephen Blythe, who last month won the Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award as part of the 2012 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service. Blytheco as a firm was recognized as a winner of a 2012 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service in November, 2011. This award, given by Medical Mutual of Ohio and Smart Business Magazine, recognizes the business community’s charitable works in the central Ohio region and overall commitment to philanthropy. All 2012 Pillar Award winners and their good deeds were featured in the January edition of Smart Business Columbus. Winners attended the 2012 Pillar awards recognition event, held January 26, 2012 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award recognizes one top executive of a for-profit company whose commitment and spirit for community service serves as an example for the organization he or she leads and filters down throughout that organization. Clapp was the Medical Mutual’s longtime CEO who was tragically killed in a small plane crash in Puerto Rico in 2008. Blythe was recognized for his involvement in LIGA International, the Flying Samaritans and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. LIGA, the ‘Flying Doctors of Mercy,’ is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Sinaloa, Mexico, by providing free health care and education. The Flying Samaritans provide similar services in Baja Mexico. For over ten years, Stephen has contributed to these organizations as a pilot, volunteer, board member, website developer, and treasurer.

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012

Blythe is also an avid supporter of the ACS Relay for Life fundraisers coordinated by Sally Brown of the Blytheco Laguna Hills office throughout the year. His private aircraft flights and introductory pilot’s lessons are always a hit at the relay events. Stephen’s commitment to service trickles down

throughout the organization. Team members are active in and supportive of their local communities. Staff members regularly participate in fundraising activities for the American Cancer Society and Orangewood Children’s Home, among other activities. This year we are launching a series of networking events across our nationwide locations where we raise funds for local charities as part of the event. When leaders authentically demonstrate commitment to service, it flows throughout the business and throughout the community. We’re proud that Blytheco exemplifies that commitment. For a hilarious recap of the awards ceremony from the perspective of Blytheco Account Executive Kelly Rayburn (“Schmoozin’ With our CEO, Stephen Blythe: The Pillar and Kent Clapp Awards”), visit our blog at think.blytheco. com.


SALES&MARKETING

Is marketing with a cause related to an increase in sales?

by Apryl Hanson

It seems everywhere I turn, another company that I do business with is now supporting a cause. Does this relate to an increase in overall sales? The 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study would suggest yes. It seems the issue isn’t just that consumers spend more dollars with companies that are supporting a cause, but that consumers have grown to expect that companies will support a cause. “About one third of Americans have even higher expectations of companies to support a cause during a recession, and 31% say an economic downturn is a time when it is more important than ever for companies to step up to support social and environmental needs,” says the Cone Cause Evolution Study, our nation’s benchmark report on cause marketing attitudes and behaviors. As our economy begins to emerge from recession, the expectation is that cause support will continue. People want to feel good about where they spend their money. With overall funding for non-profits decreasing, cause support in American businesses is an important way for consumers to still feel like they are giving back while spending less.

Brands that support a cause are seeing a growing increase in brand awareness, especially when the brand is tied to a local cause. This type of grass roots support can work well for small businesses to define themselves and earn local attention. The big question is does it produce additional sales results? Increased brand awareness can produce an increase in purchases and loyal customers, but that alone won’t be a savior of a brand. You have to have all elements of a business working together in order to take advantage of cause-based branding; other elements such as employee loyalty and satisfaction, customer loyalty and happiness, when combined with supporting a cause, will increase your revenue but if one of these elements is failing – supporting a cause won’t work.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

9


SALES&MARKETING

Big Brands,

Going

BIG

by Apryl Hanson

with Charity

S

tarbucks, a successful brand that supports many causes, continues to increase awareness about the charities that they are supporting. The newest is “Create Jobs for USA.” Starbucks teamed with the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to help create and sustain jobs by providing capital grants to underserved community businesses that will help increase jobs in those areas. To learn more about this specific program visit www.creatjobsforusa.org. Is this and the company’s other charity work helping Starbucks increase its brand perception? It is just one of the many things that this company is doing right. They have every other element of a growing business like loyal employees, consumers that are happy about their products and a brand that stands for more than just making profit. Some brands create their own charity – McDonald’s created the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Are charities working the same way for McDonald’s as they are for a company like Starbucks? I believe if we compared the two we would find some similarities, but also some differences that would show that there are other elements involved in integrating charitable contributions into a successful business.

We Love Charities!

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012


The difference between these two organizations is what I call “E2CL” – meaning in order for there to be real integration of charitable work to positive business results, you must have these elements: • Extreme employee loyalty and culture (E) • Customer enthusiasts and Loyalty (High NPS - Net Promoter Score) (C) • Charity that is prominent (C) All of these create overall brand Loyalty - (L). I think we can learn a lot from bigger brands that are doing it right, like Starbuck’s and from brands that are almost doing it right, like McDonald’s. Another major brand, Wal-Mart, has been in the news for having exceptionally unhappy employees, creating a stigma about their workplace and brand. They tie themselves to charities and have achieved tremendous financial success, but is it at the cost of their employees and vendor relationships? Do they have what we would call a “superbrand” where we love them? No. We may shop there, but love and loyalty are not what keep people purchasing from them – it’s price and convenience, period.

fanatics, and they support charities on a local level. Teams of local employees decide which local 501(c) (3) charities they will support. This type of community involvement on a local level gives them the image of a down-to-earth local company in the many communities that they serve nationally. How can your company create E2CL? 1. Make sure that you are doing what you can to support your employees, so that they feel loved and passionate about coming to work every day. 2. Drive customer enthusiasm by making sure you have the ability to get feedback from your consumers and improve products and processes to make it easy to work with you. 3. Choose a local charity to work with and develop a rapport with the leaders of that charity. Meet and figure out what will work for you and your employees to get involved with a cause. 4. Rinse and Repeat – as you know if any one of these areas falls short it can attack your bottom line.

Contrast Wal-Mart with Southwest, which shows signs of exhibiting E2CL. They have customer and employee brand

COFFEE We give to charity!

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

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Billing Suggestions for Quicker Payments and Lower Expenses

L

ast month we looked at the importance of deciding who to extend credit to, and how to decide how much credit to give. We also covered how to monitor your clients and adjust your credit policies based on their payment habits, and new information you find through Google Alerts, other vendors, etc. This month we are going to discuss some basic billing and collection procedures. If your business does not have a systematic invoicing and billing system, it is very important to have one in place. Many times I have seen that customers haven’t paid my clients simply because they were not billed, or reminded to pay on a regular basis. I know this may be hard to believe, but sometimes a loss or change in personnel occurred – and the missing person was the one who billed or made late-paying customer follow up calls. This can happen when there is staff turnover, typically in smaller or newer companies where there isn’t enough staff to handle the invoicing and billing. To avoid this potential situation many companies are opting to outsource their billing and follow up. They are then assured that billing and follow up calls are being done on a regular basis. This can be done by outside companies for much less than salary expense. Also, outsourced first-party billing and follow-up calling can provide professional control of dialogue. It can be computer programmed to be more systematic than internal staff are, as this is their specialty. The more systematic you can be with your follow up process, the better your cash flow.

Address Correction Requested One of the most difficult collection problems is tracking down a customer who has “skipped” – or moved without informing your business of their new address. The U.S Postal Service has a procedure to address this situation. Any statement or correspondence sent from a business should have the words “Address Service Requested” printed or stamped on the envelope, just below your return address in the top left corner. If a statement or invoice is sent to a customer who has moved and the words “Address Service Requested” appear in that top left corner, the postal service will research this information. If you are mailing first or second class mail, and they can locate a forwarding address for that person, they will send you business form #3547 with the correct address for a small fee of 50 cents. This keeps your customer’s address file up to date Also be sure to update that information from the postal service into your system right away. I have seen companies that did get this new address information from the postal service and did not take the time to update their client’s information. When they bill the client next time, the postal

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012

service will forward the mail to the customer with that new address imprinted yellow sticker placed over the old address, just like the previous invoice. Yes, the customer will still get the statement; however, psychologically they will be less inclined to pay it. If you think about it, someone will again be getting a bill, which clearly shows that the sender doesn’t know where they are. This is a bill that is easy for a less than honorable person to ignore. On the other hand, if you update your system immediately with any new customer billing addresses they will get the bill directly and faster than when it is forwarded, and with their new address printed right on that envelope. They may think, “Wow, they’re pretty efficient over there. I didn’t tell them where I moved, but somehow they already know.” This bill has a much better chance of being paid.

Creating effective billing statements Have a due date: If you think about most of the bills you get at home, the overwhelming majority of them have a due date, i.e. “payment is due by March 15.” This gives the payer a specific expectation of when to send payment. This has better predictable results than invoices that say “pay upon receipt,” or “payment is expected in 30 days.” A specific due date is the best option, which is why so many major companies have adopted this. Remove any aging sheet on your statements or invoices: Many companies have a software program that lists all outstanding balances in a mini-aging sheet on the bottom of their statements. This may help clarify the total balance due with customers, and the age of each invoice, if they have multiple invoices. I would recommend however removing these columns, or at least reducing them to not show any later dates than a 90+ column. I have seen some of them show a 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and a 180+ days past due column. The subliminal message being sent, even though the invoice may say, “Please pay in 30 days,” is that they really can take 6 months, as that is what your own statement is showing. This mini-aging sheet should be removed or reduced from your statements, as it implies that customers can truly pay much later than the terms you have stated with them, as you show that you track it much farther out.


SALES&MARKETING

by Dave Barrett Consider adding a late fee: Many companies use a late fee, disconnect fee, service fee, or interest charges, to cover some of the expense of carrying their late payers. This is worth the time to discuss with your attorney, if it could be instituted in your business with your customers. An attorney is important to bring into this conversation, as the customer must be informed of this fee contractually before it is assessed. The impending late fee can be mentioned in your contract for example, or other correspondence. This can be additional motivation to get your bill paid quickly. And the additional fees your company recoups can be used to subsidize the cost of carrying these late payers, and be used to reimburse for the cost of additional follow up time spent continuing to request payment from these late payers. These fees seem very appropriate to me, but must be instituted legally.

efficiency is added by the automated call having dialogue that says “to speak to us now press #1”. Your customer could then be connected to your AR department personnel to discuss the bill and take credit card information over the phone. This is a much less expensive and a more productive process than what is commonly done 100% manually, by having a larger staff of salaried people constantly dialing out. And to many people’s surprise, upon reviewing this process in detail, it does not lose any customer service image if it is designed properly. It is more profitable to link this new technology with a smaller accounting staff, and programming the time of these calls to coincide with enough staff to handle the amount of inbound calls that will be generated.

Send reminder letters more frequently: The squeaky wheel does get the grease. If you increase the number of times you request payment, you will increase your chances to get paid. If you can’t easily bill every customer twice per month, consider outsourcing to a company that can do it for you. Getting your statements and reminder letters into your customer’s accounts payable department twice as often monthly, and two weeks earlier than a regular monthly statement will definitely get you paid faster.

In summary:

Remove any aging sheet on your statements or invoices

New automated dialing services Automated calls are now a popular choice for election campaigns, reminding patients of upcoming appointments, and for our purposes, reminding individuals about their past due account. These automated calls can be utilized in a way that creates a very professional and sophisticated image for your company. And while done by outside vendors, your customers will perceive this as your company’s own sophisticated follow up system, as your company’s phone number can be inserted as the caller ID. Automated calls are increasing the efficiency of internal billing departments by being programmed to be dialed at a specific time of the day. After establishing that the name of your company is calling regarding their account, even more

Turn up your cash flow and profits while reducing expenses

• Follow up in a timely manner with statements and calls • Get statements out quickly and ideally twice per month • On your statements: try and use a “due date,” remove mini-aging sheets or reduce the number of columns, • Consult with legal counsel about instituting a late fee into your billing process • Consider utilizing an automated calling service to increase contacts, reduce dialing personnel, and drive calls to you at an exact time when you are staffed up to handle them. • Use Address Service Requested on every invoice sent, and immediately update any new address provided to you by the postal service.

If you have any other billing and follow up suggestions, please feel free to share. I would be happy to pass other helpful ideas along in future articles. I hope knowing this information can help your company to improve your billing and follow up efficiency, cash flow, and profits.

About the Author For over 20 years, Dave Barrett has helped businesses optimize their accounts receivable management strategies and collections. Working with clients in the manufacturing and distribution industries as well as the banking, legal, accounting, and medical fields, he reduces exposure and internal expenses, while at the same time improving the billing and follow up process. Learn more about Dave by contacting him at (818) 458-4663, or dave.barrett@transworldsystems.com

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

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COVERSTORY

S

ocial entrepreneurship is on the rise and Raghu and Arathi Raju are a striking example of this new breed of young, smart, idealistic businesspeople. Raghu and Arathi are founders of Mahamosa, a growing tea, spice, and herb retailer.

by Alicia Anderson

by Alicia Anderson

What is a social entrepreneur? A business leader who is focused equally on profits and purpose. They use business to create social value, and they are reaching into every sector of the economy. Raju is an energetic guy with a Master’s degree in Public Health and a law degree. He practiced as an intellectual property attorney, but wanted to go out on his own to use his skills to do something positive in the world. His partner in the business is his wife, a graphic designer with extensive design and illustration experience. He says he’s always been a highly-focused idealist – “maybe being an only child has something to do with it – having more time to develop those ideals,” laughs Raju. They combined their skills and launched Mahamosa as an online business in May, 2011. The company sells loose leaf teas, spices, gifts and wares, along with gifts such as teapots, infusers, chocolates, honey sticks, and 100% organic cotton shirts. They are committed to donating 50% of their profits to charity. Asked where this drive to 14

Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012

contribute comes from, Raju says “It’s time for society to start thinking long-term, not short-term, about business impact. Businesses need to play a stronger role in having positive impacts AND mitigating negative impacts like pollution, climate change and declining public health.” What charities does Mahamosa support? Raju’s background in public health led him to organizations like water.org, Oxfam, Save the Children, and other groups who focus on humanitarian issues. They don’t yet have direct partner relationship with the charities – “Organizations of this size prefer to establish partnerships with larger business than ours,” he says. Perhaps charities are missing an opportunity here? For now, the relationship is informal; Raju makes a donation once a year to the charity of choice.


They have wisely branded their charitable efforts with the “Being in the World” trademark, thus establishing a community that is set somewhat apart from the business itself. The brand’s online manifesto states: We chose the phrase “Being in the World” because it describes not only our individual being but also our inseparable situation, connection and continuity with the world around us. We explore, think about, appreciate and embrace internationalism/ globalism, diversity, and multiculturalism. We connect with and help people connect and be in the world. The Being in the World community has no boundaries. Our business is an experiment in socially and environmentally responsible capitalism. We believe people, including consumers, are motivated not solely by individual concerns but also by social and worldly concerns or causes beyond the individual self. Taking this conviction to the retailing world, we believe consumers inform their purchasing decisions not only by cost but also a true concern for the world around them. Raju also helps mitigate negative impacts in his business by using only 100% biodegradable wheat straw cups and 100% recycled paper for everything from business cards to register tape. The business made a major growth step in October, 2011, when they opened retail kiosks in two Atlanta malls. The Rajus are new to retail, so there has been a learning curve, but the exposure has been valuable to the young company, and they have been able to provide jobs as a result.

Raju says the company’s focus for 2012 is marketing. They have experimented with group discount sites (such as Living Social) and found success in driving business to the retail locations. “It’s not for everyone,” Raju says of the group discount promotions, “but it gave us valuable insights about our buyers and lots of visibility, so it worked for us.” They plan to expand their retail footprint by evaluating how they can get their products into large grocery stores, like Whole Foods. Boosting online traffic is a major goal for 2012. They are active on social media, and have experimented with search optimization on their website, but the competition for eyeballs online is tough. They know their market – Raju’s research tells him his buyers are consumers who are new to tea drinking, and are overwhelmingly young women, 18 to 35 years old. He notes that while in the US, only around 10% of people are tea drinkers, tea is the number two beverage worldwide second only to water. He acknowledges the wide variety of competition his company faces – grocery store teas, retail tea outlets, and other beverages, including coffee. But he believes in the quality of his product and a growing national focus on individual health will help boost the popularity of his teas.

Visit the company at

www.mahamosa.com.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

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INDUSTRYNEWS

Not-For-Profit... with a

U

sually, the line between not-for-profit and for-profit business is fairly clear. Both types of organizations make money; however, non-profits put the money back into the organization in order to further the group’s stated mission. For-profit businesses distribute profits among shareholders or owners. Rebuild Resources is a little different. This St. Paul, MN-based

contributions to provide services, we primarily use money made

non-profit helps its community by giving people a second

from our businesses to create jobs to employ people who

chance at a productive life. But they also run businesses to

receive our program services. We’re not just teaching people

employ these people – real businesses who compete with

how to look for jobs, we’re giving them a job, they are paying

other companies and manage the same types of issues other

taxes and contributing to their communities, so both they and

businesses have.

the community can immediately benefit.

We recently visited with Joanna Schnedler, Development Leader

There are some built-in inefficiencies with this model. We assist

and Janet Ludden, Interim President of Rebuild Resources, to

people to gain skills and work experience to position them

talk with them about how Rebuild straddles the line between

for permanent employment – so when our program succeeds,

doing business and doing good.

the result is a production challenge. We intentionally lose our

Tell me about the mission of Rebuild Resources and how you accomplish that mission. Our mission is to help recovering addicts and alcoholics be sober, self-sufficient and of service by providing meaningful, transitional employment in business enterprises we own and operate .These enterprises provide a safe, sober, secure, supportive, but non-enabling environment for recovery, and

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by Alicia Anderson

best workers to our competitors. As a result, we have very high employee turnover, which impacts our productivity. Just like any other business, we utilize creative business strategies and production practices to overcome this challenge. We have developed overlapping shifts, expanding operational capacity and increasing machine hours. We have streamlined operations and increased efficiency. As business grows, we will add a full second shift.

serve as the economic engines which sustain our work. Our

It’s not a surprise when people leave us. We help them in their

businesses are a custom apparel and promotions shop, and a

job search. We bring new workers in and get them oriented and

contract manufacturer.

trained at the same time their predecessor is leaving.

What are the strengths of an organization like Rebuild who straddles the line between for-profit and non-profit? What are the weaknesses?

How do you select participants?

Clearly our strength is that, unlike other programs who use

we hire, but most of our participants have very little or no past

Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012

Prospects fill out an application and go through a competitive hiring process. We receive 400-500 applications per year, so we have a vast applicant pool. We can be selective in whom


job experience and those are the people who most need our services. Most of the people we hire have criminal backgrounds, which also makes finding permanent employment extremely challenging. We are looking for people who are committed to sobriety and committed to changing their lives, they are the people who will succeed in the marketplace.

How do you market your organization? Our continued goal is to reach 80% self-sufficiency from business revenue, with just 20% of our funds coming from contributions. So we have a two-pronged marketing goal. We need to advertise and market to gain new contracts, and we also want to build awareness throughout the community about our mission and program. To build relationships with our apparel and manufacturing customers, we have to be competitive in quality and price when we market to potential customers for our business. We have a marketing director who sets the strategy, and a sales force who actively engage with prospects. Along with traditional marketing methods like using sales collateral and promotional materials, we actively market on Google. We have a diverse strategy for fundraising. We hold a golf tournament and other local events. We also work to establish partnerships with government agencies who can advocate for our programs. Strong advocacy within the recovery community and the corrections community helps us create relationships that help us achieve our mission.

How do you measure results? Like most businesses, we know we are succeeding when our customers are satisfied, are repeat customers, and send other businesses to us on their recommendation. Bottom line business results and an ever increasing portion of our overall expenses being met by business revenue are effective ways for us to measure success. We have to prove to our customers that giving us their business is the best choice they can make – and we can do that. Showing a high ROI on contributed income is the very best way to continue to get support from our donors. It is incumbent upon us to demonstrate both business and programmatic success which advances our mission and meets their philanthropic goals. We also look at the benefits to society of our social enterprise model. The work we do reduces recidivism, reduces the costs of incarcerating and rehabilitating people, and adds to the tax rolls since we are assisting the formerly-unemployable tax-paying, productive citizens. We have metrics that demonstrate this incredible return on investment. Also, we are happy to report we were recently recognized as the first “Accredited Social Enterprise” by the Social Enterprise Alliance. We’re proud that they have acknowledged our model of applying market-based strategies to address social problems.

For more information about Rebuild Resources, please visit their website at www.rebuildresources.com or their Custom Apparel and Promotions webstore at www.rebuildstore.com.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

17


INDUSTRYNEWS

Putting Corporate Money Where the Meaning Is by Alicia Anderson

C

hristine Arena began her career helping some of the least socially-minded companies around (tobacco and liquor companies, fast food giants) target consumers and spread their message. The award-winning author and strategist is now focused on helping industry leaders win trust, inspire employees, and achieve triple bottom-line growth through engagement with their customers and employees. We recently talked with Arena about her experiences and what CSR (corporate social responsibility) trends mean to businesses today. What led you to explore and analyze corporate giving?

growing demand. It’s a cause-effect situation: the more companies strategically invest in social good, the more demanding stakeholders grow, leading to increased investment - and the

In 2001, we saw the internet boom leading to more global awareness

trend goes on.

of business behavior. My clients were getting into trouble on issues ranging from labor standards to financial scandal. I recognized

Corporate reputation also greatly influences the corporate talent

that the transparency demanded by consumers who were now

pool. All companies are trying to attract smart people and attract

empowered by the Internet and increasingly socially conscious

the next generation of business leaders. And how this trend

wasn’t going away – it was a permanent market condition. Going

influences the Millennial generation is particularly striking. A Price

forward, companies would need to become more open and view

Waterhouse Coopers study just showed that 88% of Millennials

transparency as an asset, not a risk.

said they will choose employers who have corporate social responsibility (CSR) values that reflect their own while 86% would

Now we’re in a phase in business where, in many cases, it’s clear

consider leaving an employer if CSR values no longer matched

that collaboration and dialogue is more effective in terms of

their expectations. So there you have it.

generating loyalty, momentum and trust than closely guarding proprietary secrets. It’s an increasingly open business climate and the demand for corporate social responsibility is still growing dramatically.

What is the business case for CSR?

How do companies execute a CSR strategy correctly? Firstly, the execution must be authentic, and must come from the company’s leadership. For example, Lee Scott, CEO at Wal-Mart, truly believes in sustainability as a path to improved business

The business case centers on public demand The Cone Cause-

performance as well as a meaningful legacy. In an interview he

Evolution Study just revealed that 83% of Americans wish brands

did with Grist.org, he said: “On a personal level, as you become a

would support causes, and that 41% have bought because of a

grandparent — I have a granddaughter — you just also become

cause. More than 90% think companies should consider giving in

more thoughtful about what will the world look like that she

the communities where they do business.

inherits. So I think it was a confluence of both the personal side

Those numbers have doubled since the 1990s. Consumers insist that corporations stand for something greater than short-term financial gain. So CSR is no longer a fringe activity – now it’s integrated into mainstream businesses that consciously meet the

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012

and the business imperatives that at least drew me to be interested in it.” Wal-Mart has put massive sustainability initiatives in place throughout their business and has become one of the leaders in generating progress in this area.


Businesses must also be strategic and focused. They have to know the goals they want to achieve and how they relate to business and

What are some other trends in engaging with communities to build brands?

their customers. Then they need to leverage core assets to make goals happen. Cause-driven initiatives must be integrated into operations.

Even just five years ago, businesses wanted everything to be a trade

For example, GE has renovated its business portfolio around emerging

secret. Now, they need to be involved in the conversations and reflect

green markets, so it made sense to them to invest heavily in alternative

that they are hearing customer feedback, and be transparent in

energy sources so they can help create sustainable development in

handling both positive and negative information that comes back to

these burgeoning areas.

them.

Also - you can’t be too transparent. Companies are closely scrutinized

These days there’s a process of ongoing two-way interactivity,

now thanks to globalization and the internet. The power is in the hands

participation and collaboration that can generate great ideas in

of the consumer. They need to talk when it’s meaningful, when there’s

business. Great ideas don’t always come from inside a company. Our

an issue. Be constantly proactive in communicating so that you can

economy is increasingly participatory, leaning toward new models like

build goodwill and trust in good times; don’t just start talking when

crowdsourcing, games, social media and well-designed engagement

you’re under the gun. It’s too late then.

experiences.

For example, Seventh Generation is a company that has always positioned itself as socially responsible and transparent company. And for the most part they are. But sometimes even the best companies experience setbacks. When the board fired co-founder and former CEO Jeff Hollender, and then declined to meaningfully engage its stakeholders who wanted answers as to why, it left a big hole in the company’s reputation. So then the rumor mill started, which created lasting negative press for them and likely demoralized the employees working there. Unfortunately for them, there weren’t mechanisms in place to respond to rumors, and legal took over. So everyone said nothing. That happens all the time. And I think it’s a missed opportunity to proactively be honest and build stronger bonds with people.

What would you advise small to mediumsized companies who are struggling to do if they want to start giving programs? Real commitment can’t come from the CSR department. It has to emanate from leadership to really permeate a culture. So start there. Then, look at your peers. What are your peers focused on and WHY? What issue stands to galvanize the people inside your company? People like to rally around a meaningful cause, but if the WHY is missing, it’s hard to get people in the company behind it. So examine the real value the organization provides and what it is here to do for people. Also evaluate what you are trying to accomplish and determine the best way to do it. Use your core strengths and assets where you can make a huge difference – touching many people in a meaningful way,

so you can build value over time.

About Christine Arena

Real commitment can’t come from the CSR department. It has to emanate from leadership to really permeate a culture.

Christine is Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Aiko, a big ideas engagement agency that designs for the needs of purposeful brands. She is an award-winning author, syndicated blogger and corporate strategist focused on helping industry leaders win trust, inspire employees, and achieve triple bottom-line growth. In 2011, Christine was named a “Top 100 Thought Leader In Trustworthy Business” by Trust Across America, an organization that provides a framework for companies to improve trustworthy behavior, and highlights role models who exhibit high levels of integrity. Read her blog at http://christinearena.com/category/blog/.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

19


INDUSTRYNEWS

Top 3 Steps to Greater Warehouse Efficiency

M

ost small to medium sized businesses that work in a warehouse environment would like to implement a barcode solution in hopes that it will solve every problem they have in their warehouse. Unfortunately, barcoding isn’t a ‘be-all, end-all’ solution, but rather is the last step in a multi-step process and overall commitment to efficiency. by Theresa Boros Before you consider implementing a barcoding solution there are several steps you can take to get your warehouse in shape prior to automation. In this article we will go over some options with you in hopes that they will assist you in getting your warehouse to the level of efficiency you desire in the coming year.

Step #1:

3 Ideas for Organizing & Maintaining Your Warehouse: More often than not, when we walk into a warehouse, we notice that nothing makes sense. From bin locations that increase workload to picking methods that aren’t appropriate for the industry, there are many ways in which a company’s efficiency is being decreased by their current processes. If you suspect that your processes aren’t at the level they should be, you may wish to: Revisit Bin Location Organization: You should consider reviewing the overall organization of your warehouse annually in order to maintain maximum productivity. If you have been ‘stashing’ new items wherever they fit for the last several years it is likely you are now experiencing decreased productivity as a result. While it may seem like a hassle to re-organize everything, consider the amount of time you’ll save when you improve picking times. A good rule of thumb when organizing your warehouse is to put higher volume items in the easier to reach areas as well as in a location closer to your shipping area (if it is appropriate to do so), and lower volume items in bin shelving further away. Take a New Look at Picking Methods: Examine your picking methods and determine whether they are still appropriate for you. Keep in mind that there are many options to choose from including: Single order, Multi-order, Batch picking, and Zone picking

About the Author

Consider Implementing Cycle Counts: Cycle Counting is a great alternative or addition to a yearly physical count. It is a process with which you count inventory in regular intervals throughout the year which keeps your back-office systems more accurate than relying solely on an annual count. Many who implement cycle counting often find that they can eventually do away with the annual count altogether. Some ERP systems require you to freeze your inventory during counting, so many mistakenly believe that they can only do their counting if they shut down operations. However what you may not know is that you also have the ability to freeze only certain product lines at a time while keeping others active which allows you to implement a cycle counting technique. There are two main types of cycle counting to choose from. You will want to choose whichever is more appropriate for your industry. Geographic based cycle counting involves starting at one side of your warehouse and systematically working your way to the other end. Doing this several times throughout the year will not only enable you to keep inventory numbers accurate throughout the year, but also discover misplaced or ‘lost’ items as well. The ABC Method refers to counting by the categorization of inventory. High volume items are handled more often resulting in a higher likelihood of inaccuracies, while low volume items are handled less leading to more accurate data.

Theresa Boros is a Partner at Scanco. Scanco is a Master Developer and an OEM Partner of Sage focusing on Warehouse Management Systems for MAS 90/200/500.

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012


To implement the ABC Method you will first categorize your entire inventory deciding which fall into the ‘A’ (high volume), ‘B’ (medium volume), and ‘C’ (low volume) levels. You’ll count high volume items more often and low volume items less. Your schedule may look something like this: Level A – Count once per month -or- quarter depending on the size of the inventory Level B – Count every quarter Level C – Count every 6 months In each instance you’ll want to divide the stock up so that your staff can complete a portion of counting every day or week to keep it manageable.

Step #2:

Implement Manual Processes and Increase Employee Accountability: Establishing, communicating and enforcing specific warehouse rules and processes means you are more likely to get more effort from your warehouse team and a cleaner process. However, sometimes simple communication

just isn’t enough. This is when you may consider implementing incentives for the staff, rewarding accuracy or thoroughness – the metrics that are meaningful to your warehouse.

Step #3:

Implement Barcoding Automation: Before you implement, or even look at a barcoding solution, you should make sure Steps 1 and 2 are complete and running smoothly. Once you’ve properly organized your warehouse, implemented the best picking methods and cycle counting techniques for your industry, and established clear and disciplined manual systems – you are ready for barcoding to take you to the next and highest level of efficiency. Specifically, it will help you with: • Increasing the speed with which you can input information • Improving the integrity of your data • Developing greater accuracy of shipments • Enhancing employee productivity • And increasing the speed, efficiency and precision of your cycle / physical inventory counting process.

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bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

21


BOOKREPORT by Geni Whitehouse

T

his edition of book selections are drawn from books I haven’t yet read. They come from speakers that presented talks at TED’s Full Spectrum event which I had the privilege to watch via live simulcast at a parallel event called TEDActive. It is not easy to

take the essence of sometimes decades of research and boil it down to fit into an eighteen minute talk, but the speakers and authors I list below were able to do so quite effectively. Their talks gave me a glimpse into subjects that I want to pursue further when I have time to ponder.

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) | Brené Brown Brené Brown is the perfect spokeswoman for vulnerability. She’s one of us. Her first TED talk, in which she describes her own breakdown, is called “The Power of Vulnerability” and has already had more than 4 million views. As a research professor, Brown has studied the balance between vulnerability and courage, between authenticity and shame. But she has also lived it. She gives us hope that the very same imperfections that make us shy and ashamed are the things that make us human. She tells us that we must be vulnerable and real if we want to connect with people in a meaningful way. Brown freely shares her own insecurity in a lighthearted, entertaining and yet very personal way. If her book reflects the same combination of humor and deep insight, reading it will be a worthwhile and enlightening journey.

Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other | Sherry Turkle Sherry Turkle used to be a leading voice for the advancement of technology. But today she has begun to question its impact on our lives. She shares insights into our automation dependency and makes the case for humans to spend more time on relationships and less time on their devices. As we rush to rack up more Likes and +1s we are forgetting to take time for more hugs, phone calls and plain old conversations. Turkle is a voice of reason in a world of devices that lead us deeper and deeper into a binary world of ones and zeroes. Whether you ultimately agree or disagree with her premise, this book promises to be an informative and thought-provoking read.

Chip Kidd: Book One | Chip Kidd Chip Kidd was the most memorable presenter of the conference. With his Captain Kangaroo jacket and his hilarious presentation style, he stole the show. His gift is one that we can all envy— he has the ability to convey the gist of an entire book in its cover. The need to convert words to their visual essence is becoming ever more valuable as our storytelling shifts from magazines, to blogs, to video diaries. We might all learn something if we tried to convert our business story from a volume of financial reports, graphs and spreadsheets into a single page. His book Chip Kidd: Book One shares the stories behind his most successful covers and promises to give us insights into telling our own stories. I can only image the gut splitting laughter that will be part of this reading adventure. (This is one book I won’t be reading on my Kindle.) About Geni Whitehouse A self-proclaimed nerd, former technology executive and CPA firm partner, Geni Whitehouse has made it her mission to eliminate boring from the world of presentations. The author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 Ways Even a Nerd Can Be Heard,” Geni believes her mission as a presenter is to understand a subject well enough to approach it from an angle that will not only educate her audiences—but will resonate with them. Learn more at www.evenanerd.com.

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012


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23


CUSTOMERRELATIONSHIPS

Notes from a Month of Love

by Cortez NaPue and Alicia Anderson

I

n honor of Valentine’s Day, we recently asked our customers to tell us their love stories – fun stories about how they show their love to their own customers and their employees. Here are a few of the stories they told us.

EXECUTIVE PRESENTATIONS

SEVEN UP BOTTLING CO. OF RENO

Executive Presentations of Los Angeles really appreciates showing the love to their clients and employees. For EP, it’s all about praise. They make sure their customers are appreciated by often running congratulatory ads in major publications and they even go as far as to send a framed copy to memorialize the client’s commitment and success.

Mark Pitchford and the Seven Up Bottling Company of Reno, Nevada were recognized for their passion for customer and employee recognition.

Apparently, the key to their employees’ hearts is pizza. Susan Campbell at EP says that weekly pizza parties help keep up efficacy but random gifts and bonuses don’t hurt either. Since 1986, Executive Presentations has provided Southern California’s top lawyers with powerful and effective courtroom presentations. Their consultants analyze cases and help to determine the best way to break down even the most complex information into concise exhibits that the jury will understand and remember.

www.executivepresentations.com

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012

Originally founded in 1905 as an ice cream vendor, it was founder Edward Chism’s entrepreneurial spirit that lead the Dr. Pepper/ Seven Up Bottling Company to what is today. It wasn’t until 1929 that Edward introduced carbonated beverages to his line of products which eventually led to the installation of the can line and the transition from steel to aluminum cans. The Seven Up Bottling Company has been showing the love to their community by donating to many local schools and to the Boys and Girls Club of America. When asked what they do to show their customers the love, their response was “EVERYTHING and anything we can to make sure our customers feel as though they’re #1.” Sounds like they’ve got big hearts. How do they show their employees (and waistlines) that they’re loved? Donuts.

www.7upbottling.com


GATOR CASES We love Gator Cases for their dedication to customer satisfaction and promoting a positive work environment! According to the survey they took, Gator shows their customers the love by providing them with discounts and special offers on days such as anniversaries. Their employees love them because of their weekly meetings where employees receive cash rewards for stellar work. And what song represents the love that Gator Cases has for its employees and customers!?!? ’Count on Me’ by no other than Whitney Houston and Cece Winans – what a great song!! Gator Cases, based in Lutz, FL specializes in making protective storage devices for musical equipment. Creative Directors note: I own one of their cases and they rock. (pun intended)

www.gatorcases.com

FUTURENET GROUP Our hats go off to the FutureNet Group. The FutureNet Group was founded in 1994 by Perry Mehta whose ambitions drove him to provide a new kind of technology solution for the construction, engineering, and environmental industries. With over $20 million OOH, READ in annual revenue, FNG now has over 100 employees and 4 THESE! offices across the country. When asked how they show their customers love, their response was that they always perform at their best, making sure their clients always look good. And who doesn’t like to look good!? When it comes to letting their employees know that they love them, the folks at FutureNet believe that recognition is key. We asked what their biggest goal is for 2012. The FutureNet Group’s resolution for 2012? 100% customer satisfaction. Now, what’s not to love about that?

www.7upbottling.com

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

25


Giving in t by Cortez Napue

P

hilanthropy is not a new thing. It’s been around since… people had – well, compassion. However, being philanthropic in the age of web 2.0 is quite a bit different. A few years ago, before the boom of social media, press releases or advertorials were the way to promote a nonprofit event or to advertise the success of one. But nowadays, people aren’t so keen on reading a newspaper ad about an event and are far more adverse to see a business blatantly bragging about how much money they’ve raised for an organization. Here’s a few ways to socially promote your cause while attracting the most positive attention.

26

Promote the Success of the Benefited Organization, Not What You’ve Done –

Raise Awareness for a Cause Using Every Marketing Avenue Possible - For local

With any message that goes out, whether it be a press release, e-mail, or social media post, the focus of posting the results of a fundraiser should emphasize more so the nonprofit’s own success and perhaps reflect on how this will benefit their cause. Headlining your own article with “J&J Automotive raises $50,000 for the American Lung Association” may seem a bit like bragging. On the other hand, if someone else decides to write an article or post with such a headline – that is fine, as that is a genuine response from a third party. It never hurts if someone else brags for you.

events, taking ads out in local magazines or newspaper may work better for you. However, it would never hurt to maybe go through your list of LinkedIn, e-mail, or even Facebook contacts in the area who may be interested. Promote the event on your LinkedIn network frequently, though be wary of over sharing in LinkedIn groups. Many people may start avoiding your posts which doesn’t help your social media strategy in the long run. If raising money for a general cause, CPC (cost-per-click) ads might not be a bad option, but depending on your intended reach that could get expensive. But alas….now we are in the age of social media…

Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012


SOCIALMEDIA

the Social World - Don’t Brag, Share Social Media and Philanthropy are Best There are other ways to promote your cause on Friends - What better way to get the word out Twitter by doing things like creating hashtags. for a cause or non-profit event than using social media? The use of social media has increased dramatically over the years, even overtaking email in some instances (scan the QR code to the right for our take on the demise of email ). There’s an urge for people using social media to share ideas that they’re passionate about. Most who are involved in a nonprofit are generally passionate about their cause. With that being said, the viral opportunity there is endless as again, people are more apt to share things they like. And not to mention, it is quite cost-effective.

Social Ads Help! - The best thing about creating social ads on Facebook and even LinkedIn is that you can specifically target individuals based on their demographics and interests… that is, other things they’ve already ‘liked’ on Facebook. Thus, you can design ads that specifically narrow in on the sentiment and interests of a particular audience. While you can’t exactly socially advertise on twitter per se, you can pay to have a hashtag (#) or word promoted (which is potentially expensive).

For more help with that, read our blog post about using Twitter hashtags by scanning the QR code to the right.

The bottom line is, to successfully promote a philanthropic cause, include as many people as you can. Social media is the most efficient and effective avenue for that. When you want to share with the world how much money was raised, it is more of a grassroots, group effort (and not a one-man show) – and everyone who participated can be congratulated. And chances are, someone’s already sharing it for you.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

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Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012


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29


Creating a Culture of Service in by Alicia Anderson Your Organization: The HR Perspective

W

hy would company leaders want to advocate for a culture of community service in their organizations?

Several reasons: • Being involved in group charitable activities builds teamwork among your employees, and gives them a chance to get to know each other outside the office. • If your company participates in service activities such as golf tournaments or sponsorships, it’s a great opportunity to get positive exposure for your brand. • Employees who have activities outside the office are more engaged at the office. They are more motivated, less stressed, more organized, and gain skills that can help your company when they volunteer. • Everyone in your organization, regardless of role, is in a position to “sell” your company by talking with others about what you do every day. The more active you are in the community, the more exposure others have to what your company does.

What is the role of HR in supporting a culture of service in the organization? • If you intend to introduce community service into the culture of your company, create it from the ground up. Get employees involved in making decisions about what nonprofit groups authentically resonate with their values. Create a “Service Committee” among employees to determine which activities the group will participate in, and set a schedule for those activities. It’s probably best to limit company support to one or two organizations so the team doesn’t get spread too thin, and you make the most impact possible.

30

Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 2012

• Choose mainstream activities that everyone can get behind without controversy. Obviously, religious or political organizations are out. Health-related charities are almost universally supported, and groups that assist the poor or homeless are also good options. • Coordinate service events carefully. Perhaps you can arrange for transportation to the event to make it easier on your team to get there. Can you offer paid time off in exchange for service for a charity to encourage staff members to participate? Maybe offer a company-sponsored lunch as part of the activity. Get t-shirts printed to commemorate the occasion. Make it fun for people to actively participate. • Work with charitable organizations that are local, instead of a national chapter. National chapters have different approval processes for the use of logos and donations – it is best to work with a local chapter to speed up approvals and make sure your funds are being allocated in your local area.

Where can you find volunteer opportunities in your community? • Idealist.org – review volunteer opportunities worldwide • Network for Good ( www. networkforgood.com) – match your company’s goals to a solution • Red Cross (redcross.org) – matches volunteers with local need Lastly, go out of your way to support employees who volunteer on their own time. If they need time off at the last minute for a volunteer trip, or fundraise in the office, do what you can to help them out. These employees are valuable members of society and of your team.


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