Opportunities to share your time, talent and treasure come in many forms. Nancy Lohman serves on the boards of Food Brings Hope, the Halifax Humane Society, and the Council on Aging. She is also the President of the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens. Offering insight, the philanthropist and businesswoman shares her perspective on the relationship between businesses and nonprofits.
You have served on numerous boards over the years and you are also a business woman. How has the relationship between businesses and the nonprofits they support changed over time?
Businesses recognize that consumers are now very interested and aware of the ways in which companies commit to making a community impact. It matters. It affects our buying decisions as consumers and our loyalty. This ultimately helps our non-profits. When Subaru shares that they are committed to making the world a better place, and that they love pets, we hope to see them demonstrate that locally–and we have. Subaru contributed $250,000 for the Halifax Humane Society Community Dog Park and that is over and above the thousands of dollars they provide to us annually to help us operationally. They have created a strong national awareness of their corporate values and they visibly demonstrate them locally. There are many other companies, with similar levels of commitment, that are following suit.
As the Chair of the Halifax Humane Society’s capital building campaign, what are the strategic decisions businesses make when deciding to support “The Big Ask“ from a nonprofit?
Businesses support capital campaigns when they believe in the mission of the nonprofit, when they trust the nonprofit and when they see the need for the bricks and mortar improvement, renovation or expansion. With the Halifax Humane Society project, the businesses that supported our capital campaign knew they could trust us to be careful, conscientious and honest. They saw and understood our need and were also passionate about our mission.
Our corporate donors knew our facility was dilapidated and they knew that improving the curb appeal and our animals’ living conditions would increase adoptions. As professionals, the same principles applied to their own businesses: clean, fresh, state of the art, innovative work environments improve the customer experience and the employee experience which translates to better customer service. Many of our corporate donors also care deeply about the overall quality of life in the Daytona Beach Area. They understand that prospective businesses are evaluating whether to relocate to our area and that the amenities of a city, from art and culture to parks and recreation to services, can impact their decision.
Another important aspect of a capital campaign, is that bricks and mortar projects are tangible, so the collective results of their giving are visible. That makes the job a bit easier. But the key is to have a board of directors and capital campaign leadership who are well respected individuals in the community. Ultimately, individuals and corporations must believe you can “get the job done” and bring the project to fruition and that the result will be what was described and promised.