More and more, organizations are aligning themselves with nonprofit causes. While this is a good thing and absolutely a step in the right direction, the deepest synergies and progress occur when the partnering business and nonprofit organization share a common mission, values and passion.

On an individual level, people are most drawn to nonprofits with which they have a vested interest. For example, women that have battled breast cancer themselves or have lost a friend or family to the disease comprise the vast majority of the participants in Race for the Cure events. These women have been directly affected by the disease and are therefore passionate about finding a cure and inspiring others to join the movement.

In the business realm this proves true as well; the momentum created between businesses and non-profits who share the same DNA seems to be more organic, natural and therefore impactful. It makes sense for Starbucks to align themselves with the Fair Trade coffee movement. Their partnership with Ethos, the bottled water company seeking to provide as many children as possible with clean water? Doesn’t have quite as strong a connection.  The average Starbucks consumer is passionate about coffee and therefore apt to be passionate about causes directly related to coffee.

Again, I’m excited, no, thrilled by the corporate social responsibility movement that is upon us. There are scores of amazing nonprofit organizations out there desperate for businesses to be the vehicle through which they acquire additional volunteers, funds and awareness . My point is this: no one in their right mind would strike up a relationship with someone they don’t have chemistry with, why should it be any different for business and nonprofit couplings?

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