How can a company best “give back”?
It’s a great question and one that many organizations contend with regularly. There are 5K and 10K walks/runs that a group can join, with the benefit of raising awareness and money for a charitable cause. There are many opportunities for employees to get together for a day and participate in an organized activity, whether it be to sort and package food to send to parts of the world that struggle with poverty, collect trash in a park and leave a community a bit cleaner, or positively contribute in any number of different ways.
We’ve participated in these types of efforts over the years, and while they are all terrific and are an important part of the not-for-profit landscape, the ECS team wanted to try something new. Perhaps it was in part because of our COVID environment, and perhaps it was because during ECS team discussions that we challenged each other to find something different in terms of community involvement. In the end we decided we wanted to try something different to “give back” – something that was both longer-term and tapped directly into the skill sets of the team.
The idea also came about because one member of the ECS team, Ajay Joshi, has previously worked with a national organization known as Compass. Compass is a nonprofit that matches business professionals with nonprofits who seek pro bono consulting work in board development, funding strategy, strategic alignment, strategic marketing, and strategic partnerships and collaborations. A project lasts around nine months in length and is worth approximately $150,000 to the organization that benefits from the targeted consulting work.
The national headquarters for Compass is based in Washington, D.C. The organization expanded to Philly several years ago (and also has a local branch in Chicago as well). The bottom line is Compass connects highly-skilled professionals with nonprofits that need help to strengthen their organization. It’s a fantastic premise that not many of us have heard about in the past.
Beth Dahle is the former executive director of Compass Philadelphia and shared what the organization strives to do: “Compass’s goal is to connect people to work that is meaningful, well-managed and supported, and ultimately makes a difference in the community.”
It’s a simple yet extremely powerful premise.
Becoming a part of the Compass program takes work – there are business professionals who “compete” for a limited number of slots on each project team, plus nonprofits “compete” for a limited number of project openings to receive assistance. That means that highly qualified professionals work on projects with community organizations who both need, and are ready to receive assistance.
Currently, two members of the ECS team, Bill Morrow and Jason Fisher, are engaged with Compass projects in the greater Philadelphia area. Bill is working on a funding strategy for the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, Inc., while Jason is working on a strategic alignment project for the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
Find out more about Compass (and hear directly from the organization’s executive director), plus listen to Bill and Jason share more about their experience with Compass in this video.
Want to find out more about what it is like to work on a Compass project and get more details? Visit the Compass website that has the information you seek. Also, feel free to connect with ECS Managing Partners Bill Morrow (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jason Fisher (email@example.com) who are happy to share more about their first-hand experience with Compass, or talk any other aspect of business that is on your mind!