Indorelawan aims to strengthen ties between non-profits and corporations of various sectors. (Antara Photo/Septianda Perdana)

When Non-Profits and Corporates Collide

BY :MARITTA RASTUTI

JANUARY 09, 2015

Let’s be honest: There are doubts and even prejudices harbored by the non-profit sector toward the corporate world and vice versa. Both work with different approaches, have different sets of goals — in short, they are polar opposites.

To make matters worse, both parties can’t seem to see each other’s capabilities  beyond what they respectively offer on the surface. Non-profits seek out corporations for funding, while companies offer funds as part of charity.

Neither, however, think to ask or donate their skills instead, yet.

“Corporates have a pool of talented employees who are skilled in marketing, for instance. Non-profits need this [skill] to improve their capabilities as well,” says Widharmika Agung, co-founder of Indorelawan.org.

“Imagine this: 10 social organizations sit down with 10 corporate professionals and, one-on-one, discuss their problems and find the solutions together in a day. What an impact that would make!”

The Belajar Berbagi (Learning to Share) program organized by Indorelawan is designed for exactly that purpose: to connecting high-skilled professionals with social organizations. With the theme “Branding for Non-Profits,” its pilot workshop aims to highlight the importance of branding in social organizations.

Spearheading the event is Veronica Utami, head of marketing for oil and gas firm Total Oil Indonesia, who is also doubling as a speaker for the first session.

“The main challenge is to convince  [non-profit organizations] of the importance of branding in their social mission and their message to volunteers and potential donors,” she said during the first session of Belajar Berbagi’s “Branding for Non-Profits” workshop.

Staged over a course of two days, the workshop’s first session on Dec. 5, “Speaker Series,” invited speakers from the private sector to share his/her expertise on the relevant theme. A second session on Dec. 20 called “Coaching Clinic,” saw the implementation of these strategies.

“Coaching Clinic” included 14 social organizations, ranging from environmental groups such as Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik (GIDKP), and community foundations like Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM), to those focused on diversity, including SabangMerauke.

They are then paired with brand managers from different industries, ranging from fast marketing consumer goods (FMCG) and finance (banking and insurance), to electronics and pharmaceutical.

Among the volunteers is Fibriyani Elastria, vice president of marketing at an insurance company, who was happy to finally find an avenue through which she can channel her desire for volunteering.

“Working day and night, I feel exhausted. Although I get paid, I still feel emptiness inside me, so I’m yearning for something meaningful and to make a difference,” she says.

Fibri offered the skills and knowledge she gained throughout her eight-year experience in marketing to Sekolah Kita Rumpin (SKR), a community that provides  non-formal education to children effected by a land dispute in Bogor’s Rumpin district in West Java.

SKR’s main challenge, Fibri says, is to stand out from the crowd of similar organization tackling education.

“Interestingly, [Fibri] encouraged us not to shy away from the media. She pointed out that the public pays no attention to the differences between organizations; rather, they choose the name they are most familiar with,” says Josefhine Chitra, promotion manager for SKR.

Meanwhile, Rizal Arryadi from 1001Buku gushed about his organization’s workshop with Satria Utama, head of marketing at Samsung Electronics.

“We came up with an abundance of new ideas, which is a refreshing change for our organization,” Rizal said.

“In only an hour and a half, we gained insights on how to work more effectively so we can triple or even quadrupled our current size.”

Indorelawan plans to continue its Belajar Berbagi program and connect more non-profit organizations with corporate professionals under different themes.

“There are wide range of topics: fundraising, digital marketing, transformation to social enterprise and so on,” Veronica says. “The possibility for sustainable collaboration is limitless.”

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