When you’re a brand, how to structure your nonprofit partnerships, and with whom, is one of the biggest questions that faces organizational leaders year after year. Do you align your partnerships with the core of your business? How do you find white space free of competition? And is it best to focus your efforts on one single partnership or spread your resources with a portfolio approach?
These are all questions explored by our very own Chief Storyteller Tim Dyer at Engage For Good 2019.
finding your people at engage for good
In 2018, our Managing Director, joined by our Chief Storyteller, audited Engage For Good for the first time and found an incredible concentration of brands, agencies, nonprofits and game-changers interested in pushing the world forward through social good. Despite the varying backgrounds, each person is in a role committed to impacting the planet, the people on it and our local communities with good.
In 2019, Manifesto joined Engage For Good at the sponsor level and Dyer asked to host a panel focused on one of the fastest growing and most elusive non-traditional sectors of marketing: employee engagement.
“One of the biggest topics in brand building today is engaging the hearts and minds of employees around what you stand for,” says Dyer.
“Socially-minded organizations know that to truly fulfill upon their mission, vision and values, they have to leverage the collective genius and momentum of the employee base—not just their donated dollars.”
While checkout charity, grants and giving are a function of many of the giving arms for for-profit companies, getting into the heart and soul of employees provides the groundswell that puts an entire organization’s resources behind a cause or causes—rather than the corporate entity on the oversized check.
In a 60-minute session, Dyer and high profile panelists from across the industry shared their own organization’s pathway to employee engagement, landing the right cause partners and how to activate them.
Featured among the panelists were social impact executives from Rodan + Fields, Goldman Sachs, JetBlue and Moody’s.
how to pick a nonprofit partner—or partners
One of the most illuminating topics of the session was focused on a singular or multi-pronged approach to building cause platforms with your employees. Should you choose a single nonprofit partner or take a portfolio approach? More often than not there is a growing trend within cause to not have a singular cause partner, but rather a suite of partners. And their surface alignment with the core of your brand isn’t necessarily required for success and immeasurable impact.
For example, Arby’s, under its youth empowerment platform, focuses on work with Junior Achievement, No Kid Hungry and Big Brother Big Sister rather than a single partner that falls within what some might consider their sweet spot of food and hunger.
Rodan + Fields also has a non-traditional approach having passed on women’s empowerment and looking toward an integrated approach of deep community-centered partnerships—and all through the lens of their brand representatives who make up the fabric of the communities they serve.
Not to be overlooked is Moody’s who bypassed financial wellness and instead chose a partnership with Visit.org and their global network of volunteering opportunities to plug in employees to skills-based volunteerism.
Even JetBlue takes an unconventional approach. Though its sites are consistently set on the gift of travel and putting employees first, all of their social good work is executed by their team members. Whether it’s travel, a huge holiday stunt or pulling families together, they’ll break the conventional confines of a singular partner to scratch at the itch of their ilk: being incredibly human centered in all the giving they do.
During the 60-minute panel, one thing became clear: There is no singular path to creative employee engagement. Looking for your own white space free of competitors zigging when others zag and making your employees the absolute center of your giving efforts are among the unilateral criteria. And while giving away money may help make an impact where it’s needed most, being a giving partner doesn’t invest your employees the way skills-based volunteerism can. Putting their brain power to work, their hands to build something, and most of all, their hearts for a lifetime’s worth of investment, is the heartbeat of the socially-minded brand.
Want to find out more about Engage For Good? Check out the 2020 lineup here.