Biz in the Hood

Our colleagues at Idealist are showcasing a terrific story about a group in Texas whose self-assigned role is to help small businesses figure out how they can serve the nonprofits in their communities.  While such a group is no doubt helpful, the Nonprofiteer urges every small nonprofit to do this kind of thinking for itself, and then walk into the local hardware store or rug merchant with a specific idea for the business owner’s participation. 

Many small nonprofits waste time and effort trying to attract the attention of large corporations; the Nonprofiteer recalls a futile effort to persuade Dayton-Hudson that a neighborhood children’s choir could increase its audience penetration.  Spend your time where you’ve actually got a fighting chance of getting your money: in the neighborhood.  Start by asking neighborhood businesses for simple things: the right to post a notice about your gala in the window, for instance.  But then think about whether you can ask the dry cleaner to advise you on storage of your theater company’s costumes, or (as they did in Texas) ask the nearest mechanic to conduct a session for your clients on basic preventative maintenance for their cars. 

People like to be valued for themselves as well as their money–and the more they give of themselves, the more of their money will flow along behind.  So ask!


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2 Responses to “Biz in the Hood”

  1. linda Says:

    and it’s always a good idea to ask what YOU can do for those businesses in your neighborhood, too. 🙂

  2. Nonprofiteer Says:

    Absolutely; but can you suggest some things that nonprofits can offer? With little time or money to spare, it’s hard to imagine how they can be good business neighbors. But nonprofits should join neighborhood and town Chambers of Commerce; the visibility is great and ways of helping neighborhood businesses will present themselves.

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