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Archive for month: May, 2015

Enhancing Give-Back Partnerships

Enhancing Give-Back Partnerships

Corporate responsibility has become a theme that more and more businesses are giving special attention. With proven bottom line benefits, philanthropy is now a part of corporate strategies to increase employee retention, morale and brand awareness.

As the trend towards give-back businesses and business programs rises, tools and resources to help businesses be as giving as they can be are also growing. Whether you are part of business that wants to ensure its philanthropic efforts are organized to make the biggest impact or you represent an organization that needs more corporate partners, new resources are available to help connect you to your goal.

When we are working to raise money for a worthy cause, there is always room for more donations. Amplify your efforts and impact by visiting https://doublethedonation.com/. This site can help you  increase the amount of money you raise from matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The group provides donors with the tool they need to get their match requests in the hand of corporate decision makers. Donors can easily access matching gift guidelines and forms to streamline the process. The site offers direct donation and custom match pages hosted through the Double the Donation page or on your own corporate page.

Many corporations also want to volunteer to support an important cause through their actions and non-profits need volunteers. Volunteer Match makes it easy for giving people and good causes to connect. With over 100,000 non-profit organizations registered and submitting volunteer opportunities and over 9 million volunteers matched to meet their needs, the service is growing daily. If you are a non-profit, post your story and get help incorporating more volunteers into your effort to make your impact even bigger.   If you’re a corporation, plan your next team building event to include a give-back project and you’ll see more smiles around the conference table.  If you are an individual with a giving heart, you can also get involved. Gather a group of helpful friends and make volunteering a pay-it-forward part of your social time.

Momentum begets more of the same. Don’t miss the opportunity to amplify your efforts to tackle important challenges with a few digital clicks. You may be surprised at what a difference connecting to like-minded groups can make in multiplying your impact.

What have you found that works well in connecting with non-profits or corporate donors and sponsors? Please share your comments below.

Green is in Fashion

Green is in Fashion

It’s wonderful to see how so many companies are taking a green approach to their businesses. We’ve talked in previous blogs about how more companies see that having a social consciousness program helps their bottom line. At BBD, we are inspired to see how more and more companies are creatively inspiring green tactics that are far reaching and becoming critical to the literal and figurative fabric of the company.

Eileen Fisher is a privately held company whose brand goes back to 1980’s. The company is known for its simple designs and creative marketing. Since the early 2000’s the company has been making green programs as vogue as their clothing and has added social consciousness to its reputation. The company follows Social Accountability International (SAI) SA8000 standards to ensure social accountability in the work place. The majority of the cotton in their clothing is organic and colored with chemical free dies.

In 2011, the brand began an effort to keep clothing out of landfills as well as provide a funding source to support causes for which the company has a passion. Green Eileen was the eventual product. The program takes in “gently worn” Eileen Fisher clothes, gives donors a $5 gift certificate per item and resells them with all proceeds going to nonprofit groups that have a mission of empowering women.

For Eileen Fisher, sustainability is a way of doing business and it’s been hugely successful. The history of this brand shows that when social consciousness becomes a part of your culture, the answers to what were once tough questions become more and more obvious.  We see many brands and companies demonstrating that cradle-to-cradle processes like the Eileen Fisher model are not only possible, they can be a part of valuing business success.

At BBD, we support companies in reaching their goals for social impact and believe that 100% sustainability is possible. We are here to help you begin making a shift that will show your clients that you and your company have sustainable style.

Leadership lessons from our Armed Services

Leadership lessons from our Armed Services

Self-awareness comes from honestly assessing where you are, what is possible and your opportunity to create change.  We admire and look to businesses and organizations that have observed their own operations and seen opportunities to step up their game even when it seems daunting and success isn’t guaranteed.

One organization that receives a great deal of attention when it comes to leadership and weathering change is our military. The last three decades have marked an important time of reflecting, research and ultimately re-thinking leadership within the U.S. military.  With new information, our military has worked to recreate systems of thinking that support leadership decision-making when challenges arrive.

Armed Services Day, celebrated annually the third Saturday of May,inspired us at BBD to take a look at the key leadership lessons we can use that are proven military tactics.

The faster our lives and world moves, the more emphasis is placed on leadership agility.  The U.S. military introduced the term VUCA,the acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. VUCA soon became a code to help leaders be aware of 4 types of challenging situations that will require a thoughtful and self-aware response.

Do those sound like characteristics of situations you might be facing regularly as a leader?

While it’s helpful to be aware that VUCA is probably going to find each and every leader, perhaps even on a daily basis, the next step to being a great leader is having a plan to respond.  The U.S. Military provides a training doctrine to help leaders anticipate issues, assess interdependent variables, prepare for challenges, and capitalizes on relevant opportunities.

What is practiced and drilled in will be applied in a crisis.

For those of us who have not had the benefit of this level of training to manage change but are hungry for effective leadership tools, the Harvard Business Review published a guide to help leaders from any organization to take intelligent action in response to VUCA situations.

The guide for action is based on how much the leader knows about the situation and how well the leader can predict the results.  Interpreting where a VUCA challenge lives on the spectrum is the first step. The model then provides recommended action and techniques for each situation. These are worth knowing and having in your toolbox regardless of the types of challenges you face as a leader.  With a little practice, you’ll be ready to respond effectively to any challenge.

With it can also come new energy and concepts that flow into all our efforts including our professional lives. Soon our businesses, institutions and organizations begin to be impacted by our new thinking.

Isn’t now the time for new thinking and leading?

Do What Your Mother Said… especially when running a company

Do What Your Mother Said… especially when running a company

On Sunday we will honor and celebrate the moms that helped us become the adults we are today. Growing up, our moms became so familiar to us that it was sometimes easy to brush off the mom-isms.  It becomes common practice, if not a critical rite of passage into adolescence, to think our moms are just trying to meet a daily word quota. Little did we know, moms have guidance that stands the test of time and can serve us well on the playground and in the boardroom.  Perhaps you’ll remember some of them.

Pick your battles – Mom’s words might not have made sense when we were young and full of energy to get into all sorts of mischief and fight every fight. As we get older, have full plates, busy schedules, and responsibilities, our moms suddenly become very wise. The fact is mom knew all too well that there are only so many heartbeats in our lifetime and we need to spend them on what matters most: preserving our energy for the battles that we know in our gut are key and check-in with our energy-spend on the less important stuff. Find a key phrase you can use to help put the small battles behind you so you can be fresh for the big ones.

Treat others how you would want to be treated – In business how we treat our customers is the make or break practice for every company. If your customers don’t feel valued, if they feel you don’t care about their satisfaction, when they can tell you are not interested in “wowing” them, they have no reason to remain loyal to you. Thinking of your customers like the most important people in your business will ensure you are putting their needs first. If they reward you for giving them great service with their loyalty, you have a wonderfully complementary, balanced business relationship.

Be the best you that you can be – After years of hearing how special you are from mom, this statement might have garnered an eye roll. Once again, mom DID know best when she said that you were made for a unique purpose and you should own it every day. Moms can see and believe that we are capable of amazing things if we fully embrace our being. Begin each day as a leader with the certainty that you were made to contribute something that only you can. Your career will grow and you’ll definitely make mom proud.

Actions speak louder than words – You might have told mom you loved her, and cleaning your room and doing your homework showed her you did. Within companies; associates, partners, and customers watch what leaders do to see if you mean what you say. These days it’s easy to demonstrate that you backup your commitments with actions. In a world with vast digital media you can show the world that you mean what you say. Check yourself often to ensure you are following mom’s advice on this one and you’ll be known as a leader with integrity.

Since the beginning of time, moms have been preparing the next generation of leaders. So much of what our moms were trying to teach us was about having integrity and being self-aware. These are key qualities for each of us and especially important when leading and mentoring others. The lessons moms teach can help us go from toddling to team building and all the way to the top.  What were some of the lessons your mom taught you?