Profiles in Partnership
A series on best practices and sound advice for developing and maintaining successful partnerships between nonprofit and for-profit organizations
BB: How does community involvement benefit your employees?
DP: When people are given a chance to volunteer, they are engaged, so they are likely to work harder for the business, be happier, and get more out of the experience. We are known for offering a community involvement experience that allows people to contribute while pursuing their career goals. This makes Deloitte stronger and it makes our community stronger.
BB: When people are coming back from their experiences, whether it’s Impact Day or the other programs that you developed, are they bringing back better leadership skills, are you seeing them as better employees because of these experiences?
DP: We believe they are developing, because they are being put into leadership roles earlier than they might be otherwise, and they are coming out of it more knowledgeable and energized. We know that Impact Day and the yearlong volunteerism it symbolizes is a very important part of our culture.
BB: Deloitte played a major role in the development of a major partnership with CaliforniaVolunteers. Tell us more about this program.
DP: When Karen Baker became California’s Secretary of Service and Volunteerism in 2008, the governor asked her to create a highly-trained volunteer force that could be integrated into the state’s emergency management system and mobilized in a coordinated way in times of disaster. We had just lived through the San Diego fires and the Bay Area oil spill, and the need for this type of volunteer network was very apparent. Karen knew she first needed a strategic plan, so she turned to Deloitte because she already had some solid relationships with our organization and she also knew about our new pro bono program. All of us immediately saw it as a chance to do something important for the state and set a precedent for the nation. The Disaster Corps was launched in June 2010.
BB: This seems like a perfect example of a public/private partnership.
DP: Knowing the tremendous challenges that California is facing, we saw this as a chance to help. The heart of any public/private partnership is thinking in new ways about how we can work together and accomplish the agreed-upon goals.
BB: What advice would you offer to other for-profit organizations on how they can benefit their communities and their own companies by getting involved in these cross-sector partnerships?
DP: These partnerships are a chance for any business to think in new ways about what its contributions to the nonprofits it supports can be. Every business has organizational knowledge that can benefit nonprofits, so my best suggestion is to have a conversation with those nonprofit leaders about the business issues that may be holding them back, and what they need to move past a hurdle. It will spark a lot of new ideas!
Up Next: Big Brothers Big Sisters
For more information on developing highly successful partnerships please visit: www.bruceburtch.com