Social business, Part 7: Nonprofits tap corporate expertise

By Todd Cohen

Eighteen years ago, looking for advice on how to most effectively station supplies and equipment so it could move them quickly and efficiently to locales hit by disasters, the American Red Cross turned to FedEx, the Memphis-based global delivery company.

“We provided in-kind shipping, quality management, logistics, supply chain help, and helped come up with a plan of action to keep inventory in our warehouses and get it shipped out,” explained Rose Flenorl, manager, social responsibility, for FedEx.

FedEx now has provided over $10 million in cash and in-kind support for the Red Cross, shipping thousands of tons of relief supplies a year for the charity, including 650,000 pounds of supplies in 2011, she said.

The company also has partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based agency on a variety of other efforts, including an online survey that let small businesses find out how prepared they were for disasters, as well as an online seminar that any small business could take to get training for emergency preparedness, including how to back up their records and keep their personnel safe.

The partnership with the Red Cross “strengthens the attributes and the brand of our corporation,” Flenorl explained. “When we have a good reputation and brand, that increases our revenue. Employees want to work for a company that’s concerned about its community. Our team members live in these communities. We can recruit and retain them.”

Next: Companies team with nonprofit to solving social problems

The series:

Part 1: Companies team with causes to add value

Part 2: Companies build giving into business strategy

Part 3: Philanthropy adds value for companies

Part 4: Nonprofit builds corporate partnerships from ground up

Part 5: Company works with nonprofits to build markets

Part 6: Companies turn to nonprofits to help develop leaders

Part 7: Nonprofits tap corporate expertise

Part 8: Company teams with nonprofit to solve social problems

Part 9: Nonprofits work with companies to help find business solutions

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