Collaborative Problem-Solving with Credibility

Some companies are turning to nonprofit partners to solve problems collaboratively, with built-in credibility.Cause marketing has evolved for some companies into collaborative partnerships that provide shared value for the participating corporation and charity.

Mary MacDonald of EarthShare, a federation of nonprofits involved with environmental issues, says many corporations are looking to collaborative partnerships to solve problems, not just donate money.

In a blog post on, MacDonald cites the example of The Nature Conservancy and Coca-Cola collaborating on ways to reduce water usage and conserve watersheds around the world.

"Water scarcity is a growing problem," MacDonald writes, "and water is the primary ingredient in every can of soda Coca-Cola produces."

The collaboration involves The Nature Conservancy quantifying the water consumed by Coca-Cola bottling operations, then offsetting it with watershed conservation projects the company sponsors worldwide. Coca-Cole reports it will hit the 42 percent mark by 2013, including preservation of a 1.7-million acre wetland in Vietnam.

Bored? Try a Board Experience

Volunteering for a nonprofit board may be a rewarding experience, but ask some key questions before joining.Many professionals find they are a desired commodity as potential members of nonprofit boards of directors. This type of community engagement looks great on a resume and is good for your business reputation.

Saying “yes” to a recruiter may result in a rewarding experience. Then again, serving as a volunteer director can be more painful than a root canal. Clearly, there are veterans who are critical of the nonprofit experience.

“Most are just deplorable – wasting precious staff energies and bringing nothing to the board table,” writes author and blogger Bill Freeman. “We need a 'Jack Kevorkian' for nonprofit boards – cutting the oxygen and giving a merciful death since beheading is so old world.”

CFM staff members have volunteered and led important community organizations. We believe serving as a board member is worthwhile, but there is a list of questions you should be prepared to ask: