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1
2017
How to do
better business.
Working with not for profits.	
A Pro Bono Australia Resource
HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS
Contents
Foreword	i
1.0	 How are not for profits different from other businesses?	 1
1.1	 The question of purpose	 2
1.2	 Can a not-for-profit organisation make a profit?	 3
1.3	 So then how do they make a profit?	 4
1.4	 A different structure	 5
2.0	Why work with a not-for-profit organisation?	 7
2.1	 They need to find efficiencies 	 8
2.2	 It’s all about purpose	 9
2.3	 It’s a valuable niche	 10
3.0	Things to keep in mind	 11
3.1	 Transparency is key	 12
3.2	 Connect with their cause	 13
3.3	 Be approachable, clear and genuine	 14
3.4	 You’ll be dealing with a lot of volunteers	 15
4.0	The next steps	 16
4.1	 Read as much on not-for-profit organisations as possible	 17
4.2	 Find out what they need	 18
4.3	 Research the competition	 19
4.4	 Consider B Corporation certification	 20
4.5	 Build a list of potential not-for-profit organisations 	 21
4.6	 Consider dedicating a resource to not for profits 	 22
4.7	 Prepare your marketing initiatives 	 23
4.8	 Consider a profile on Source	 24
Useful resources	 25
3
Foreword
The not-for-profit sector is one of the largest contributors
to the Australian economy, not only in terms of money,
but also in terms to its contribution to the wellbeing of the
entire community.
Businesses in Australia are starting to see the sector’s
value and so want to reach, engage and do business with
the not-for-profit organisations that give the sector and the
community so much value.
The following pages will help you to understand
the sector’s real value, what makes the sector tick,
the differences between not-for-profit and for-profit
organisations, how to engage with not-for-profit
organisations and, finally, the steps you need to take to
make your plans a reality.
Pro Bono Australia is the largest media organisation in the
not-for-profit and social sector. With more than 15 years of
experience, we know the sector inside out.
We’ve created this guide to assist new organisations
promoting themselves to not-for-profit organisations
through Source – our digital directory of suppliers to the
sector.
HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS
Businesses do better on Source. Find out more
HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS
1.0
How are not for profits
different from other businesses?
Before you engage with a not-for-profit organisation, it’s
important that you understand how they differ from a for-
profit organisation. The obvious difference is that one is for
profit while the other is not for profit. This is correct, but it
requires some unpacking to properly appreciate the difference
between the two types of organisations.
2
A for-profit organisation’s purpose is clear: to make money.
This does not mean that a for-profit organisation must
make a profit at the community’s expense or can’t engage
in for-good programs, but the main objective of a for-profit
organisation is to make a profit.
A not-for-profit organisation’s purpose is to benefit its cause,
whatever that may be. Its purpose may be easier pursued if
the not-for-profit organisation makes a profit and uses that
profit to invest in programs that benefit its cause.
“Working with a not for profit
benefits the cause, whatever
that may be”
1.0
WHY WORK WITH A
NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
1.1
The question of purpose
3
1.2
Can a not-for-profit
organisation make a profit?
Yes, a not for profit can make a profit but it can only make a
profit if that profit is used to benefit its cause.
If a not-for-profit organisation is found to have made a profit
and has not used those funds to further its mission, it can
have its charitable status, and any concessions that go with
it, revoked.
So don’t be afraid to discuss the concept of profit with a not-
for-profit organisation, just be careful with the way you frame
the organisation’s aim in regards to their purpose and their
need to generate a profit.
1.0
WHY WORK WITH A
NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
4
1.3
So then how do they
make a profit?
A not-for-profit organisation gains funds in several ways,
including government funding, soliciting donations,
philanthropic giving, membership fees, fundraising events –
the list goes on. This may give you an idea of how you might
tailor your offering to the sector; events need management,
members need to be marketed to, grant applications need to
be written etc.
“Whatever your business is,
you’ll be able to find a way
to assist a not-for-profit
organisation”
1.0
WHY WORK WITH A
NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
5
1.4
A different structure
There is a strict hierarchy of management in for-profit
organisations; a coordinator takes orders from a manager
who takes orders from a director who takes orders from a
chief executive officer. So when you engage with a for-profit
organisation all you need to do is convince the most senior
person in the organisation, or the most senior person in the
department you’re targeting.
Not for profits still have a hierarchy with managers and
coordinators, administrators and head honchos of all kinds,
but they will generally make decisions in a more democratic
manner. From a business perspective, this means that you
not only have to convince the head honcho, but possibly the
board and team members as well. These individuals may
have conflicting agendas or aims, but in general they would
be working towards the organisation’s for-good aim,
so just show them how you can achieve that.
1.0
WHY WORK WITH A
NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
6
1.4
A different structure
Dealing with multiple stakeholders in a single organisation
requires more time and effort than dealing with a single
individual or department, but it does give you an increased
chance to find out how the organisation works and so
engage with them and gain an appreciation of their work.
you will attract more motivated, community-focused staff
who will value working with your business – it’s something
to offer your employees other than money.
1.0
WHY WORK WITH A
NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
“CSR initiatives like these seek to
show your customers, employees
and the wider community that you
care about the community
in which you work”
HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS
2.0
Why work with
not for profits?
By working with a not-for-profit organisation you break into a
valuable and growing sector of the economy, with an annual
income of $134 billion*, but there are many other benefits to
working within the sector that should encourage you to work
with not for profits.
**The Australian Charities Report 2015 | australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.
8
Not for profits are always looking to find efficiencies in
their business models. These efficiencies can be found in
their accounting practices, their use of technology, their
marketing, their funding streams, their insurance, their legal
policies – anything and everything that a for-profit business
requires is also required by a not-for-profit organisation,
and not-for-profit organisations have an increased need to
save money through efficiencies so that they can fulfill their
purpose of helping others. This means that if you can offer
a discounted price on a product or a service, you will have
their business.
2.1
They need to find efficiencies
2.0
WHY WORK WITH
NOT FOR PROFITS?
“If you can offer a discounted
price on a product or a service,
you will have their business”
9
2.2
It’s all about purpose
2.0
WHY WORK WITH
NOT FOR PROFITS?
There are indirect benefits that you might enjoy when you
work with a not-for-profit organisation.
By working with a not-for-profit organisation, you can
proudly say that you’re helping an organisation that exists
only to help others. You can use this on your website as an
example of your work, you can let your clients know that you
work with not for profits and so signal to the wider market
that even though your business exists to make money,
you do so by working with organisations that help the
community.
Your employees will also feel better knowing that they’re
working for your business. They may have a similar passion
for not-for-profit organisations and so feel good coming
into work everyday, they may be even prouder to work for
your business than before! And if you promote the fact that
you work with not-for-profit organisations, you may attract
more motivated, community-focused staff who would value
working with your business – it’s something to offer your
employees other than money.
All of the above could be called corporate social
responsibility (CSR). CSR initiatives like these seek to show
your customers, employees and the wider community that
you care about the community in which you work and that
you don’t put profit over people or purpose.
10
Organisations that have experience working with not for
profits have a huge advantage within the sector as they are
able to offer their expertise as an added reason for not-for-
profit organisations to work with them.
Not for profits require sector-specific expertise – the sector
is like no other! The more tailored, customised and suitable
your offering is to not-for-profit organisations, the easier
and more valuable it is for them to engage with you. A lot
of not-for-profit employees and volunteers may not have
business experience, or may not have business experience
in the product or service on offer, so acknowledging this and
making the interaction as smooth as possible is very useful
to a not-for-profit organisation – they’ll appreciate
your understanding.
2.3
It’s a valuable niche
2.0
WHY WORK WITH
NOT FOR PROFITS?
“The more tailored, customised and
suitable your offering is to not-for-profit
organisations, the easier and more
valuable it is for them to engage with
you”
HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS
There are a few rules of thumb
to remember when reaching out
to and engaging with not-for-profit
organisations.
3.0
Things to
keep in mind
12
Working with a not for profit can be incredibly satisfying as
they care so deeply about what they do and so take all their
activities very seriously, including engaging with any kind
of business. As a for-profit business working in the not-for-
profit sector, you being transparent in all of your dealings
could encourage not for profits to do business with you. This
could include the following:
•	 employment policies
•	 workplace OH&S policies
•	 complaint policies
•	 compliance with applicable legislation
•	 quality assurance policies.
So make sure you are ready to answer relevant questions on
any of the above points.
3.1
Transparency is key
3.0
THINGS TO
KEEP IN MIND
13
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.
Although price is always at the fore of business discussions
with a not-for-profit employee, it’s important to remember
that if you can connect with their cause, you can probably
get their business.
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 business, or you might show
them how they can better market themselves to donors and
so increase the funds at their disposal.
3.2
Connect with their cause
3.0
THINGS TO
KEEP IN MIND
14
Not-for-profit organisations are keen to engage and carry out
their work in the most efficient and often similar business-
like manner. Just like a for-profit business, not-for-profit
organisations appreciate professionalism when you are
trying to secure their business. The key is to be clear on how
you can provide the right solution to their needs.
Clarity is key when speaking with not-for-profit employees
or organisations that may not have experience in dealing
with your product or service, or dealing with any for-
profit business, so it’s important that you have answers
to any questions that may arise, no matter how basic or
foundational they are. This point is especially useful when
dealing with very small not-for-profit organisations.
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 maybe have a general search around the
cause and read up on it.
3.3
Be approachable,
clear and genuine
3.0
THINGS TO
KEEP IN MIND
15
Many not-for-profit organisations rely on volunteers, and
they use them in a variety of roles from fundraising positions
to receptionists to chair people on their boards. This means
that the contacts at the not-for-profit organisation whose
business you’re wanting may not be available all the time, or
may not have the knowledge or skills that a paid employee
may have, but, on the plus side, they are passionate for the
organisation’s purpose and so are receptive to the help you
offer through your business.
3.4
You’ll be dealing with
a lot of volunteers
3.0
THINGS TO
KEEP IN MIND
“they are passionate for the
organisation’s purpose and so
are receptive to the help you
offer through your business”
HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS
4.0
The next steps
So you’re convinced and you
want to start working with
not-for-profit organisations.
What comes next?
17
This isn’t the only guide out their that focuses on not-for-
profit organisations. The Australian Tax Office and the
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
have on their websites a huge amount of information on
what constitutes a not-for-profit organisation.
4.1
Read as much on not-for-profit
organisations as possible.
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
18
Do some further research around the topics mentioned in
this guide and get creative in your approach. For example,
if you’re an accountant, look into the accounting issues that
not for profits focus on and consider how you can adapt your
business to meet the needs created by those issues.
Here’s a quick but incomplete list of services that not-for-
profit organisations are usually on the lookout for:
•	 fundraising
•	 accounting
•	 legal advice
•	 marketing
•	 technology
•	 human resources and recruitment.
And the list goes on. Remember that almost everything a for-
profit organisation needs is also needed by a not-for-profit
organisation.
4.2
Find out what they need.
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
19
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 similar organisations to yours in the sector
already?
•	 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.
4.3
Research the competition
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
“Treat the not-for-profit sector as
you would any other new market
and assess your offering against
the competition”
20
A B Corporation is a business that operates in an ethical and
sustainable manner and has been independently certified to
do so.
Not for profits may be more comfortable working with
B Corporations because they have been assessed and
confirmed to act in the interests of stakeholders outside of
their own organisation, and so show the community values
that so many not-for-sprofit organisations value.
Almost any organisation can gain B Corp certification. The B
Corp assessment includes requirements such as:
•	 a sustainable supply chain
•	 supportive and transparent policies toward its employees
•	 acts in the interests of all stakeholders
•	 minimises its environmental impact.
The certification is rigorous but incredibly valuable if you
want to work with not-for-profit organisations.
Find out more at B Corp Australia’s website.
4.4
Consider B Corporation certification
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
21
Lastly, build a list of all the not-for-profit organisations you
intend on approaching with your product or service. Have
a look at directories like the Guide to Giving (Pro Bono
Australia’s 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.
4.5
Build a list of potential not-for-profit
organisations you’ll approach
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
“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”
22
It’s been made clear that not for profits require specialised
knowledge, experience, products and services, so you might
consider creating an arm of your business dedicated to the
sector, or nominating a member of your staff as the expert
on not for profits. This will ensure that your business can
dedicate time and expertise to the organisations with which
you’re engaging.
4.6
Consider dedicating
a resource to not for profits
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
23
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 business – 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.
You might also consider entering into a partnership with
a not-for-profit organisation, rather than directly selling to
or fundraising for. A partnership could be something like
providing pro bono work to the organisation while using it
as a CSR program. For example, a construction company
might partner with a not for profit focusing on homelessness
to build affordable housing that can be used by the
organisation.
4.7
Prepare your marketing initiatives
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
24
Source is a digital directory of suppliers to the not-for-profit
sector, it’s accessible and promoted to Pro Bono Australia’s
audience – that’s 70,000 users every month.
In 2012, Karen Mahlab, Pro Bono Australia’s founder, found
that there was nowhere for not-for-profit organisations to
find suppliers that specialised in the not-for-profit sector, so
she applied the model used in the Guide to Giving to a new
directory, Source.
Originally a printed directory, Source has moved to a
completely digital model.
There are a lot of digital directories out there, but they’re
very general. Source has been designed with not for profits
in mind. It’s promoted directly to not for profits, it allows
suppliers to detail their products or services that are tailored
to not for profits, and it’s well known by 600,000 plus not-
for-profit organisations in Australia.
4.8
Consider a profile on Source
4.0
THE NEXT STEPS
Businesses do better on Source. Find out more
25
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
Australian Tax Office on not for profits
Pro Bono News
Source Directory
Guide to Giving
B Corp Australia
Useful resources
HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS

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How to do better business

  • 1. 1 2017 How to do better business. Working with not for profits. A Pro Bono Australia Resource
  • 2. HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS Contents Foreword i 1.0 How are not for profits different from other businesses? 1 1.1 The question of purpose 2 1.2 Can a not-for-profit organisation make a profit? 3 1.3 So then how do they make a profit? 4 1.4 A different structure 5 2.0 Why work with a not-for-profit organisation? 7 2.1 They need to find efficiencies 8 2.2 It’s all about purpose 9 2.3 It’s a valuable niche 10 3.0 Things to keep in mind 11 3.1 Transparency is key 12 3.2 Connect with their cause 13 3.3 Be approachable, clear and genuine 14 3.4 You’ll be dealing with a lot of volunteers 15 4.0 The next steps 16 4.1 Read as much on not-for-profit organisations as possible 17 4.2 Find out what they need 18 4.3 Research the competition 19 4.4 Consider B Corporation certification 20 4.5 Build a list of potential not-for-profit organisations 21 4.6 Consider dedicating a resource to not for profits 22 4.7 Prepare your marketing initiatives 23 4.8 Consider a profile on Source 24 Useful resources 25
  • 3. 3 Foreword The not-for-profit sector is one of the largest contributors to the Australian economy, not only in terms of money, but also in terms to its contribution to the wellbeing of the entire community. Businesses in Australia are starting to see the sector’s value and so want to reach, engage and do business with the not-for-profit organisations that give the sector and the community so much value. The following pages will help you to understand the sector’s real value, what makes the sector tick, the differences between not-for-profit and for-profit organisations, how to engage with not-for-profit organisations and, finally, the steps you need to take to make your plans a reality. Pro Bono Australia is the largest media organisation in the not-for-profit and social sector. With more than 15 years of experience, we know the sector inside out. We’ve created this guide to assist new organisations promoting themselves to not-for-profit organisations through Source – our digital directory of suppliers to the sector. HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS Businesses do better on Source. Find out more
  • 4. HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS 1.0 How are not for profits different from other businesses? Before you engage with a not-for-profit organisation, it’s important that you understand how they differ from a for- profit organisation. The obvious difference is that one is for profit while the other is not for profit. This is correct, but it requires some unpacking to properly appreciate the difference between the two types of organisations.
  • 5. 2 A for-profit organisation’s purpose is clear: to make money. This does not mean that a for-profit organisation must make a profit at the community’s expense or can’t engage in for-good programs, but the main objective of a for-profit organisation is to make a profit. A not-for-profit organisation’s purpose is to benefit its cause, whatever that may be. Its purpose may be easier pursued if the not-for-profit organisation makes a profit and uses that profit to invest in programs that benefit its cause. “Working with a not for profit benefits the cause, whatever that may be” 1.0 WHY WORK WITH A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION? 1.1 The question of purpose
  • 6. 3 1.2 Can a not-for-profit organisation make a profit? Yes, a not for profit can make a profit but it can only make a profit if that profit is used to benefit its cause. If a not-for-profit organisation is found to have made a profit and has not used those funds to further its mission, it can have its charitable status, and any concessions that go with it, revoked. So don’t be afraid to discuss the concept of profit with a not- for-profit organisation, just be careful with the way you frame the organisation’s aim in regards to their purpose and their need to generate a profit. 1.0 WHY WORK WITH A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
  • 7. 4 1.3 So then how do they make a profit? A not-for-profit organisation gains funds in several ways, including government funding, soliciting donations, philanthropic giving, membership fees, fundraising events – the list goes on. This may give you an idea of how you might tailor your offering to the sector; events need management, members need to be marketed to, grant applications need to be written etc. “Whatever your business is, you’ll be able to find a way to assist a not-for-profit organisation” 1.0 WHY WORK WITH A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
  • 8. 5 1.4 A different structure There is a strict hierarchy of management in for-profit organisations; a coordinator takes orders from a manager who takes orders from a director who takes orders from a chief executive officer. So when you engage with a for-profit organisation all you need to do is convince the most senior person in the organisation, or the most senior person in the department you’re targeting. Not for profits still have a hierarchy with managers and coordinators, administrators and head honchos of all kinds, but they will generally make decisions in a more democratic manner. From a business perspective, this means that you not only have to convince the head honcho, but possibly the board and team members as well. These individuals may have conflicting agendas or aims, but in general they would be working towards the organisation’s for-good aim, so just show them how you can achieve that. 1.0 WHY WORK WITH A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION?
  • 9. 6 1.4 A different structure Dealing with multiple stakeholders in a single organisation requires more time and effort than dealing with a single individual or department, but it does give you an increased chance to find out how the organisation works and so engage with them and gain an appreciation of their work. you will attract more motivated, community-focused staff who will value working with your business – it’s something to offer your employees other than money. 1.0 WHY WORK WITH A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION? “CSR initiatives like these seek to show your customers, employees and the wider community that you care about the community in which you work”
  • 10. HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS 2.0 Why work with not for profits? By working with a not-for-profit organisation you break into a valuable and growing sector of the economy, with an annual income of $134 billion*, but there are many other benefits to working within the sector that should encourage you to work with not for profits. **The Australian Charities Report 2015 | australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.
  • 11. 8 Not for profits are always looking to find efficiencies in their business models. These efficiencies can be found in their accounting practices, their use of technology, their marketing, their funding streams, their insurance, their legal policies – anything and everything that a for-profit business requires is also required by a not-for-profit organisation, and not-for-profit organisations have an increased need to save money through efficiencies so that they can fulfill their purpose of helping others. This means that if you can offer a discounted price on a product or a service, you will have their business. 2.1 They need to find efficiencies 2.0 WHY WORK WITH NOT FOR PROFITS? “If you can offer a discounted price on a product or a service, you will have their business”
  • 12. 9 2.2 It’s all about purpose 2.0 WHY WORK WITH NOT FOR PROFITS? There are indirect benefits that you might enjoy when you work with a not-for-profit organisation. By working with a not-for-profit organisation, you can proudly say that you’re helping an organisation that exists only to help others. You can use this on your website as an example of your work, you can let your clients know that you work with not for profits and so signal to the wider market that even though your business exists to make money, you do so by working with organisations that help the community. Your employees will also feel better knowing that they’re working for your business. They may have a similar passion for not-for-profit organisations and so feel good coming into work everyday, they may be even prouder to work for your business than before! And if you promote the fact that you work with not-for-profit organisations, you may attract more motivated, community-focused staff who would value working with your business – it’s something to offer your employees other than money. All of the above could be called corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR initiatives like these seek to show your customers, employees and the wider community that you care about the community in which you work and that you don’t put profit over people or purpose.
  • 13. 10 Organisations that have experience working with not for profits have a huge advantage within the sector as they are able to offer their expertise as an added reason for not-for- profit organisations to work with them. Not for profits require sector-specific expertise – the sector is like no other! The more tailored, customised and suitable your offering is to not-for-profit organisations, the easier and more valuable it is for them to engage with you. A lot of not-for-profit employees and volunteers may not have business experience, or may not have business experience in the product or service on offer, so acknowledging this and making the interaction as smooth as possible is very useful to a not-for-profit organisation – they’ll appreciate your understanding. 2.3 It’s a valuable niche 2.0 WHY WORK WITH NOT FOR PROFITS? “The more tailored, customised and suitable your offering is to not-for-profit organisations, the easier and more valuable it is for them to engage with you”
  • 14. HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS There are a few rules of thumb to remember when reaching out to and engaging with not-for-profit organisations. 3.0 Things to keep in mind
  • 15. 12 Working with a not for profit can be incredibly satisfying as they care so deeply about what they do and so take all their activities very seriously, including engaging with any kind of business. As a for-profit business working in the not-for- profit sector, you being transparent in all of your dealings could encourage not for profits to do business with you. This could include the following: • employment policies • workplace OH&S policies • complaint policies • compliance with applicable legislation • quality assurance policies. So make sure you are ready to answer relevant questions on any of the above points. 3.1 Transparency is key 3.0 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
  • 16. 13 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. Although price is always at the fore of business discussions with a not-for-profit employee, it’s important to remember that if you can connect with their cause, you can probably get their business. 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 business, or you might show them how they can better market themselves to donors and so increase the funds at their disposal. 3.2 Connect with their cause 3.0 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
  • 17. 14 Not-for-profit organisations are keen to engage and carry out their work in the most efficient and often similar business- like manner. Just like a for-profit business, not-for-profit organisations appreciate professionalism when you are trying to secure their business. The key is to be clear on how you can provide the right solution to their needs. Clarity is key when speaking with not-for-profit employees or organisations that may not have experience in dealing with your product or service, or dealing with any for- profit business, so it’s important that you have answers to any questions that may arise, no matter how basic or foundational they are. This point is especially useful when dealing with very small not-for-profit organisations. 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 maybe have a general search around the cause and read up on it. 3.3 Be approachable, clear and genuine 3.0 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
  • 18. 15 Many not-for-profit organisations rely on volunteers, and they use them in a variety of roles from fundraising positions to receptionists to chair people on their boards. This means that the contacts at the not-for-profit organisation whose business you’re wanting may not be available all the time, or may not have the knowledge or skills that a paid employee may have, but, on the plus side, they are passionate for the organisation’s purpose and so are receptive to the help you offer through your business. 3.4 You’ll be dealing with a lot of volunteers 3.0 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND “they are passionate for the organisation’s purpose and so are receptive to the help you offer through your business”
  • 19. HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS 4.0 The next steps So you’re convinced and you want to start working with not-for-profit organisations. What comes next?
  • 20. 17 This isn’t the only guide out their that focuses on not-for- profit organisations. The Australian Tax Office and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) have on their websites a huge amount of information on what constitutes a not-for-profit organisation. 4.1 Read as much on not-for-profit organisations as possible. 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS
  • 21. 18 Do some further research around the topics mentioned in this guide and get creative in your approach. For example, if you’re an accountant, look into the accounting issues that not for profits focus on and consider how you can adapt your business to meet the needs created by those issues. Here’s a quick but incomplete list of services that not-for- profit organisations are usually on the lookout for: • fundraising • accounting • legal advice • marketing • technology • human resources and recruitment. And the list goes on. Remember that almost everything a for- profit organisation needs is also needed by a not-for-profit organisation. 4.2 Find out what they need. 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS
  • 22. 19 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 similar organisations to yours in the sector already? • 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. 4.3 Research the competition 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS “Treat the not-for-profit sector as you would any other new market and assess your offering against the competition”
  • 23. 20 A B Corporation is a business that operates in an ethical and sustainable manner and has been independently certified to do so. Not for profits may be more comfortable working with B Corporations because they have been assessed and confirmed to act in the interests of stakeholders outside of their own organisation, and so show the community values that so many not-for-sprofit organisations value. Almost any organisation can gain B Corp certification. The B Corp assessment includes requirements such as: • a sustainable supply chain • supportive and transparent policies toward its employees • acts in the interests of all stakeholders • minimises its environmental impact. The certification is rigorous but incredibly valuable if you want to work with not-for-profit organisations. Find out more at B Corp Australia’s website. 4.4 Consider B Corporation certification 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS
  • 24. 21 Lastly, build a list of all the not-for-profit organisations you intend on approaching with your product or service. Have a look at directories like the Guide to Giving (Pro Bono Australia’s 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. 4.5 Build a list of potential not-for-profit organisations you’ll approach 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS “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”
  • 25. 22 It’s been made clear that not for profits require specialised knowledge, experience, products and services, so you might consider creating an arm of your business dedicated to the sector, or nominating a member of your staff as the expert on not for profits. This will ensure that your business can dedicate time and expertise to the organisations with which you’re engaging. 4.6 Consider dedicating a resource to not for profits 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS
  • 26. 23 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 business – 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. You might also consider entering into a partnership with a not-for-profit organisation, rather than directly selling to or fundraising for. A partnership could be something like providing pro bono work to the organisation while using it as a CSR program. For example, a construction company might partner with a not for profit focusing on homelessness to build affordable housing that can be used by the organisation. 4.7 Prepare your marketing initiatives 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS
  • 27. 24 Source is a digital directory of suppliers to the not-for-profit sector, it’s accessible and promoted to Pro Bono Australia’s audience – that’s 70,000 users every month. In 2012, Karen Mahlab, Pro Bono Australia’s founder, found that there was nowhere for not-for-profit organisations to find suppliers that specialised in the not-for-profit sector, so she applied the model used in the Guide to Giving to a new directory, Source. Originally a printed directory, Source has moved to a completely digital model. There are a lot of digital directories out there, but they’re very general. Source has been designed with not for profits in mind. It’s promoted directly to not for profits, it allows suppliers to detail their products or services that are tailored to not for profits, and it’s well known by 600,000 plus not- for-profit organisations in Australia. 4.8 Consider a profile on Source 4.0 THE NEXT STEPS Businesses do better on Source. Find out more
  • 28. 25 Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Australian Tax Office on not for profits Pro Bono News Source Directory Guide to Giving B Corp Australia Useful resources HOW TO DO BETTER BUSINESS