This morning I attended a breakfast sponsored by the Two Percent Club at the Denver Country Club.  The Two Percent Club is an organization actively promoting business involvement in the community.  Their website states: “The member companies of the 2% Club consist of a wide range of industry representation and include every size of business, from sole proprietors to the largest employers. They have supported hundreds of Denver nonprofits with donations, employee volunteers, in-kind support and pro bono services. These leaders encourage and demonstrate business involvement in the community through their support of philanthropic efforts within their own companies, through their own personal commitment and through their leadership and encouragement of others.  We encourage you to get involved—-it’s just good business.”

While we ate our breakfast, each of the six round tables discussed 11 questions concerning community involvement.  They were great questions – I suggest you take a minute and think about the answers to them from your own perspective.

  1. Have you arm twisted your vendors or suppliers to get them involved in the community?  How did that work for you?
  2. Are government projects and iniatives appropriately steering resources to causes or are they taking funds away from other community groups and causes?
  3. Has your company tied your community efforts back to business goals?  If so, how?  Any cause related marketing projects?
  4. How do you find time for community efforts – for yourself or your company/employees?
  5. What impact is the economic situation having on your giving now or in the future?  What about the overall impact on the nonprofits and the community?
  6. Is it OK to self-promote your community efforts, or is that being disingenuous?
  7. Do you measure your community efforts?  If so, how?
  8. Are your employees involved?  What impact does that have on morale/productivity?
  9. Is it good to have a narrow communtiy focus or more of a broad-based focus?
  10. Is it appropriate for nonprofits to be invovled in political issues?
  11. Black-tie dinners-enough?  Or bring ’em on?  Alternatives?

The keynote speaker for the event was Peter Coors.  Peter currently is Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Molson Coors Brewing Company.  He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Adolph Coors Company since 2002, and was Chief Executive Officer from May 2000 to July 2002. Peter talked about the unique philosophy we have in the United States concerning citizen (and business) involvement in philanthropy as compared to many other countries where the government is expected to provide all needed servcies in communities.  He talked about business philanthropy being not an obligation for companies as no one is making us do it – rather he feels it is the right thing to do and makes good business sense.  People want to do business with people they think care.

Peter highlighted eight things for companies to remember when engaged in community involvement.

  1. Keep your corporate hat on when working with nonprofits – bring business thinking to addressing community issues.
  2. Encourage nonprofits to measure their results and business can help with that.
  3. Help nonprofits measure their effectiveness using both quantitative approaches while also focusing on the harder to measure feel good factor.
  4. Offer in-kind resources
  5. Encourage employees and their families to get involved in community projects.  Encourage them to have the same giving philosophy as the business’ leaders.
  6. Effectively use your business leverage to make things happen.
  7. Be creative, shake up the status quo and look at things differently especially during tough economic times when dollars available have diminished – right now by 40%!!
  8. Never doubt the Power of One!  Adopt one school, mentor one child, help one neighborhood.  One person or one business – can make a difference.

It great to have been invited to participate in this event and meet leading local business people who are so committed to supporting their local communities.  The Two Percent Club has a new website and is now actively looking to engage even more businesses as part of its membership.  I am glad to be a member!