• Archive

Leveraging Good Will

 
9/12/2005

Leveraging Good Will is written for two audiences: nonprofits that seek highly qualified volunteers, and businesses that seek meaningful engagement in the nonprofit sector. “The renaissance of volunteerism,” as consultant and author Alice Korngold sees it, will involve more business volunteers. These will be people who can work as management consultants, marketing gurus, and sales strategists. The focus of this book is on how to make a match between the business volunteer and the nonprofit. Korngold advocates strong regional matchmaking services in every major U.S. community. She also provides some solid recommendations to help organizations find the best fit:

  • Conduct a needs assessment of the nonprofit
  • Interview each candidate
  • Train board candidates

Some of Korngold's advice is pretty matter-of-fact. Explaining how to make volunteers feel welcomed, she advises, “Articulate the role of each category of volunteer—tutor, legal advisor, board treasurer—so that the job and the expectations are perfectly clear” and “Decide how volunteers will be thanked and recognized.”

The work atmosphere in a nonprofit can be very different from the pace of corporate life. Successful business people sometimes have trouble making the transition. Korngold takes some time to explain when being “businesslike” is good for a business, and when it can be harmful. For example, in business, top-down management is an efficient way to make decisions, but in a nonprofit, you risk alienating key constituents—donors, public officials, even the community you are serving.

Still, there are lessons nonprofits can learn from business, such as taking board governance seriously and making decisions based on relevant information. (Korngold points out that too often decisions in nonprofits are based on passion, not reason.) The book also includes tips for strengthening boards and nonprofit leadership roles. This book is helpful in laying out the groundwork for organizations that want to engage more effectively with the business world.

- Manda Salls

Table of Contents