Round table talk at the Management and Controlling Forum of Budapest (23th May 2019)
In exchange to the professional help received from business organisations, non-profits can contribute to, most of all, employee satisfaction and better
market appraisal of companies – as one of the conclusions of the round table talk states about non-profit organisations at the
Management and Controlling Forum of Budapest.
Participants were Gábor Gosztonyi (former managing director, SOS Children’s Village Foundation Hungary), Erna Kindli (managing director, Bátor Tábor Foundation), Erzsébet Soltész (business unit manager, One Drop of Attention Foundation). Dr. Viktória Bodnár, managing partner of IFUA Horváth & Partners and founder of IFUA Nonprofit Partner hosted the talk.
Shift from business sector to non-profit sector. All thee participants of our talk started their professional careers in the business sector. Later, they shifted to the non-profit sector – because of various reasons: personal or professional milestone, or led by commitment.
Similarities in the operation of business and non-profit organisations. Regardless of their – business or social – purpose, organisations have to operate in an effective and financially sustainable way. It can be useful to transfer experiences, methods and tools used in the business sector to the non-profit organisations, and to strengthen structural functioning. But there are also big, international non-profit organisations that operate with the same size, structures and regulations as big business sector companies. Only a few people know, that the fundraising function of non-profit organisations can be understood as a combination of marketing and sales functions of business companies, and in these fields – regardless of the sector – similar skills are needed for success. Just as in for-profit companies, financial return is important in non-profit organisations as well, for example in the case of fundraising campaigns.
Good practices of non-profit organisations. The commitment and motivation of people working for non-profit organisations can serve as an inspiration for business organisations. The colleagues of non-profit organisations can see the purpose and mission directly, they can understand the impact their activity has, and all these act as a great incentive. If this could be achieved in business organisations as well, their employees would also become much more committed. This is not only important because of efficiency, but for example in order to motivate employees of Y generation, who seek the opportunities to find a higher purpose, a mission that is important for them in their everyday work. Non-profit organisations are also characterized by being able to build an advantage based on their smaller size: a higher level of adaptability, bypassing over-regulated routines guarantee them the possibility for flexible adaptation and fast reaction. The participants of our talk agreed that both for-profit and non-profit sectors could learn a lot from each other.
Skills-based volunteering / pro bono help. Corporate volunteering can be a part of the employer branding concept. This can have several forms of realization ranging from pastry fair and teambuilding fence painting to skills-based volunteering. Skills-based volunteering is really important because it is not enough for the volunteer to do good, but his/her activity has to be useful for the non-profit organisation as well. Business professionals can really help if they can support non-profit organisations in their own field of expertise. Sometimes professional volunteers have the duty to help non-profit organisations in defining several possible development area for them. It would be a logical assumption, that those who engage in pro bono activities have less time to do their own job. In contrast, experiences show that skills-based volunteering can fit perfectly into the daily routine of even a challenging, performance-oriented job, while the quality of the work done for the company is not threatened at all. Moreover, involvement in this kind of projects usually energizes employees.
Partnerships between business and non-profit organisations. The most favourable cooperation between non-profit and business organisations is mutual partnership, because non-profit organisations can also add something in exchange for professional help, most of all they contribute to employee satisfaction and better market appraisal of the companies (for example by a teambuilding event, media appearance or addressing the target group in a more conscious way). Beyond skills-based volunteering, community building can connect people along a good purpose. Despite project-based cooperations being usual, it is much more rewarding for the business organisations as well if they build a long-term, multidimensional relationship with the chosen non-profit organisation.
Social impact, return. Usually it is unknown – because it is hard to quantify social impact – that money invested into a non-profit organisation can have a higher social return rate than the activity of business organisations.
Corporate and private donations. In case of corporate donations, the role of the top management is crucial. It came up as an idea during the talk, that companies could also donate the 1% of their profit for charity purposes – similar to the donation of the 1% of personal income tax. It is a peculiar experience, that supporters can leave alone those non-profit organisations successful in fundraising – despite the fact that non-profit organisations with more funds can achieve a bigger impact. Meanwhile business organisations are never ignored by their consumers because of being too successful. Hungarian donating culture still has to improve significantly compared to the economic development of the country.
Role of non-profit organisations in the era of digitisation and robotisation. We should not give up people-oriented focus despite more and more intensive digitisation, because human relationships have a proven therapeutic effect, and digital solutions should only be used to support this purpose. Robotisation will not terminate social and helper jobs, because human care and attention cannot be replaced in this segment. The work of non-profit organisations will be really needed in the future as well in order to solve social problems effectively. Non-profit organisations have a significant growth potential. This is why they are worth supporting, because with their development they can contribute to the business sector, too.