Four Reasons to Work with NFPs (and Five Ways to Do it)
28 March 2017 at 3:16 pm
The not-for-profit sector needs and uses business services every day. Here’s our top four reasons to work with the sector and five ways to do it.
The not-for-profit sector is made up of over 600,000 organisations. More and more, Australian businesses are starting to see the sector’s value and so want to reach, engage and service it. If your business hasn’t considered breaking into one of the country’s fastest growing contributors to the economy, here’s four reasons to do it. And if you already know the value of the sector, here’s five ways to do it. We’ve produced a slightly more comprehensive eBook on this, check it out here.
Why work with NFPs?
There are plenty of direct and indirect benefits to working with not for profits, here are a few of the best.
Passionate about purpose
Not-for-profit organisations work to benefit their cause and the wider community, so they’re passionate about their work. By working with and servicing community-focused organisations, you’ll be helping them and aligning your business with the good they do.
The not for profit’s passion will rub off on you and your employees – they’ll feel great knowing that they work with an organisation that works in the not-for-profit sector, and you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve got a team of happy employees.
It’s a valuable niche
Not for profits require sector-specific expertise and they value experience. Once you’ve got experience with a few not for profits under your belt, your business will be much more attractive to not for profits needing business services.
The sector is growing all the time
With over 600,000 not for profits in Australia, the sector is one of the country’s largest. A 2015 report found that the charities surveyed, in that year, had a combined income of over $134 billion, which is a 2% increase from 2014. The report also found that the charities employed over 1.2 million paid staff and used an estimated 2.9 million volunteers. (Read the full report here.) In 2015, approximately nine new charities were being registered every day.
So the sector is huge, and it’s only going to get bigger.
They need business services
Not for profits are like any other organisation – they need suppliers of services and products.
There are some specific services that not for profits are looking for. Here’s a quick but incomplete list of services that not for profits are usually on the look out for:
- legal advice
- human resources and recruitment.
Remember that anything a for-profit organisation needs is also needed by a not-for-profit organisation.
How to do it?
The sector is unique, so there are a few things to keep in mind when looking to engage with it.
Be genuine and transparent
Not-for-profit organisations are keen to engage and carry out their work in the most efficient and often business-like manner. Just like a for-profit business, not-for-profit organisations appreciate professionalism. The key is to be clear on how you can provide the right solution to their needs.
You should also be genuine in your interest in the organisation’s cause – don’t say you want to save the turtles if you’ve never been to the ocean. This is an easy one to cover as all you need to do is research the not for profit as an organisation and its cause as a subject. Do some reading on the organisation’s site to get an idea on how and why they operate, and have a general search around the cause and read up on it.
Connect with their cause
In general, not-for-profit employees are more passionate about their role and purpose than their for-profit counterparts. Their passion comes from their reason for working for a not-for-profit organisation: they want to help their organisation’s cause.
You can connect with a not-for-profit organisation’s cause by making clear how your product or service helps them to better further their cause or help the community in which they work. For example, you may be able to show them how their finances can be rearranged to save money and so free up funds to reinvest into their organisation, or you might show them how they can better market themselves to donors and so increase the funds at their disposal.
Do your research
Breaking into the not-for-profit sector is no different to breaking into a for-profit market; research is essential. Have a look at other organisations that service the sector and ask yourself the following questions:
- How do they market themselves?
- How do they specialise in not for profits if at all?
- Are there many organisations similar to yours already in the sector?
- Is your offering unique?
- Are not for profits looking for your product or service? If not, why not?
Treat the not-for-profit sector as you would any other new market and assess your offering against the competition.
Build a list of potential NFP clients
Build a list of all the not-for-profit organisations you intend on approaching. Have a look at directories like the Guide to Giving (that’s our directory of charities) and the ACNC’s list of registered charities. You might like to only look at not-for-profit organisations working on issues that are meaningful to you, or you might like to only work with organisations that are local to you.
Prepare your marketing initiatives
Before you make contact with a not-for-profit organisation, go over your marketing materials and alter them for a not-for-profit organisation using the suggestions made in this guide. An easy way to pitch to any organisation is to tailor a Powerpoint presentation or similar to their organisations – use the presentation to show the organisation how you will benefit them.
Running a fundraiser for a not for profit is a fantastic way to market to the sector, it shows that you care about and value the work of not for profits. You might consider having your CEO attend St Vincent de Paul’s CEO Sleepout, or encourage your employees to participate in other charity fundraising programs – this will signal to organisations in the sector that you’re involved.
And that’s it (well, kinda). For more info and a more comprehensive guide to working with not-for-profit organisations, download our free eBook here.