It's common to imagine the business world and the nonprofit world as two separate spheres. Business is focused on creating products, selling services and making money. Nonprofits focus on helping people, improving communities, and changing the world.
In reality, it's not so simple. Nonprofits and businesses may have different goals and abide by different regulations, but the basic needs of both types of organizations are similar. This means business leaders interested in giving back to their communities may be able to help in more ways than they realize.
For example, Handshake 2.0 readers know successful business dealings depend on who you know. The same is true for nonprofits. Whether its recruiting board members, securing funding, or building a tribe, nonprofits benefit from having a large, diverse group of supporters. Therefore, introducing new people to the nonprofit is a big help.
- Visit your favorite nonprofit's Facebook Page and "Like it."
- Click the "suggest to friends" link below the page icon in the upper left corner.
- Click on the icons of several Facebook friends who are likely to support the nonprofit's work and click "send invitations."
- Send an e-mail to the Executive Director of the nonprofit in question to let her know you've suggested the page to others and how much you appreciate the organization's work. (I know this isn't technically part of the process, but saying thank you is a gift in itself.)
Please note, Facebook is not the only way to help. Many of the relationship-building techniques and tools (like foursquare) businesses use for themselves will work for nonprofits – often with very little modification. If you're stuck, share your favorite business networking technique in the comment section and I'll be happy to help you modify it for nonprofit use.
Image is screenshot of Facebook page of the YMCA at Virginia Tech. Handshake 2.0 was pleased to be a sponsor of Art To Go, part of the effort to complete the Pottery Studio at the Y.