Articles by Month: March 2017
Last month, I had the privilege of training a group of professional fundraisers at an international conference in Norfolk, Virginia. This month, I traveled from Cleveland to Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis to train volunteers to ask for gifts. Very few of these people initially feel excited about asking for gifts. I get it. I’m an accidental fundraiser myself.
After earning a degree in public relations, my first real job was with the American Cancer Society where I was charged with communications and fundraising activities. Throughout my career, I’ve collected a good 20 years of fundraising experience. But it wasn’t until I understood why communications and fundraising are two sides of the same coin, and how PR skills and processes actually work to enhance the fundraising success of an organization, that I truly embraced fundraising.
Since then, I have been working with nonprofit organizations to help them understand what I’ve learned about donors and the fundraising process. I share with them the research, planning and tactical implementation steps that produce results. And now I want to share them with you.
Prosper for Purpose is launching its first newsletter, Prosper Fuel, for nonprofit and impact-focused organizations. In it, we will share how to move people through the Cycle of Engagement with your organization so that you can have greater impact. Sound like something you’d be interested in? We thought so.
We will share with you many of the same lessons we teach to our paying clients so that you can help your organization prosper for purpose. All you need to do is sign up by going to the bottom of our contact us page, and adding your email to our newsletter box.
It’s Tuesday morning and Nick Edmundson of Heartwood Coffee Roastery is making his rounds. He’s delivering our custom ‘Purpose Fuel’ coffee blend. Heartwood roasts their organic fair trade beans on Monday and Thursday, and delivers it the next day to ensure their superior quality coffee is ultra fresh. This in-person connection is unique and part of the reason we love Heartwood Roastery.
Nearly two years ago, Nick didn’t know the difference between quality coffee and store-bought K-cups. But, his coffee-loving friend, Jim Sanders, expanded his horizons. As a wedding photographer, Nick brought entrepreneurial spirit to the table while Jim—a plumber for most of his life—brought his love of coffee and can-do attitude to their partnership. The two decided they could start a business.
Originally, Nick and Jim wanted to start a cafe, but with the cost of overhead so high they decided the time wasn’t quite right. So, they started roasting their coffee in Jim’s garage in Burton, Ohio. Once they got their name and heavenly coffee out there the company blew up. By attending events in Cleveland and interacting with the community, the loyalty to and demand for Heartwood Roastery coffee grew so much that Nick and Jim are opening a bricks and mortar store in Hudson, Ohio.
We asked Nick why they decided on the name Heartwood Roastery.
“Honestly, we were just throwing a bunch of different names around. Somehow Heartwood came up and we both liked it. Jim and I both love the outdoors and love the name. After researching what Heartwood is (the part of a tree that delivers all the nutrients to the rest of the tree) we loved it even more and it really fit what we were going for. We really had a vision of community and just a fun environment for everyone when we started the company. When we came up with the business name and our slogan, “Grow Together,” it fit right in with the name Heartwood, sticking to the whole nature/tree vibe. Oh, and coffee grows on a tree, too!”
Heartwood consistently sources the best coffee from around the globe, roasting beans from Ethiopia to Columbia—anywhere on the equator where coffee is grown. All coffee is handpicked at the perfect time, to ensure the standards of high quality they have come to produce, and roasted specifically to achieve the desired flavor. Even the highest quality coffee can be compromised if roasted incorrectly. This is why Heartwood Roastery puts so much love and effort into roasting their coffee.
Heartwood launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help open their new shop. With a few days left to go they have already surpassed their goal. They are looking to make the cafe a comfortable, fun destination. Whether it’s for a date, a study session, or just to spend some time sipping good coffee, they want the shop to be a place for customers to stop by and enjoy.
Nick knows that serving good coffee is one thing, but creating a great atmosphere and educating people about their coffee is another ball game. And they are up for the challenge.
The idea of a purpose-driven brand is nothing new. But over the past few years the idea of creating a culture that gives back has enjoyed a strong resurgence. And for good reason: A company’s commitment to doing well by doing good is a defining advantage in today’s competitive marketplace. Blending for-profit motives with nonprofit values is essential for:
- Employee recruitment, motivation and retention
- Supplier and investor relations
- Market differentiation
- Customer engagement and retention
Studies show 90% of U.S. shoppers would switch to a cause branded product. When it comes to contemplating where to work, 64% of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments. Simply put, people want to support brands that have a purpose.
Just like having a mission and values, possessing a purpose is a vital component of any business. That’s why Prosper for Purpose was established around the idea of using our time, talents and profits to help address social issues and make a difference in the world.
Since our inception, Team Prosper has been committed to giving back to our clients and local community. In 2015, we began The Prosper Project to provide pro bono work to a cause or nonprofit each year. In 2016, we became a Certified B Corporation, joined One Percent for the Planet, and rolled out our 12 Months of Giving program as another way to provide our services to local nonprofits.
We’re proud of our commitments to being both socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. Our efforts connect and bond us to communities of like-minded people, raise awareness for worthy causes, increase team morale, and make a positive impact on people and the planet.
If giving back isn’t ingrained in your company’s DNA, don’t worry—it’s still possible to make a difference. The first step is to choose a worthy cause that supports your mission and values. Then make a long-term commitment to that cause, not just a fleeting sponsorship. Keeping your mission front and center for employees, partners and customers to see will help your efforts feel more authentic and allow you to make a significant impact.
By making your mission matter and creating a culture of purpose, you’ll be on your way to doing well by doing good.