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5 Ways Corporate Volunteering Changes the Office Feel on Mondays

With social media and the internet, the world of business has changed. We now find it valuable to associate with businesses who seem to be socially minded and have a sense of what it means to be involved in the Denver community. Businesses have been searching for opportunities to work with the best non-profit organizations in order to produce this kind of mindset. We have a good idea how these opportunities to volunteer affect the public’s perception of a business, but are less keen on how it actually affects the volunteers IN the business. I have created a list of 5 things that change the feel of the office, by volunteering.

1. It Get’s All Shook Up!

When you have been working in the same office together with the same people for a period of time, things begin to settle into a routine. You grab that morning coffee when you get in. You catch up on those emails for the first couple of hours. You check in with your coworkers on the status of projects… it’s the status quo. Your employees need to get out of that rut! The opportunity to get out of the office and work with coworkers in a completely different environment helps relieve some of that stagnation. Your employees will find themselves working with people in a way that they may not have had the opportunity do before. This helps alleviate a lot of that “same old” feeling in the office and can build camaraderie beyond just another thing to talk about at the water cooler.

2. Creativity Energy Increases

In conjunction with shaking up the work environment, employees will find they have opportunity to take on some new roles. They may discover they are actually pretty good at painting. Or maybe they will find out that they have a knack with a table saw. Solving new problems requires new creative thinking. Opportunities to do something that is not only new to them, but may be a little intimidating, can help your team develop new skills and reveal new capacity for leadership.

volunteering has significant impact on company culture

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3. Cooperative Communication Improves

In the newness of a volunteer environment and the mixing of roles, your employees will find they will need to communicate much more effectively to complete new tasks. Discovering what needs to be done, developing a strategy, delegating tasks, finding the right tools, even learning someone’s name from another department, are all ways volunteering develops great communication. They HAVE to communicate properly on service projects for a task to get done in a timely and efficient manner. After all, efficiency in the workplace is the fuel of success!

4. Networking Leads to… Leads

Growing a small business is contingent upon meeting new people and forging new relationships. When your employees work on a philanthropic project they will get to rub shoulders with other business owners and workers on a level field. The people they meet may become the business clients of the future and they may become their business clients as well. The opportunity to meet a variety of businesses and people in those businesses can be a very valuable tool for future growth and relationships. We often find that after a service project, people will walk in the door with an unexpected customer lead on Monday morning.

5. Sense of Purpose Expands

It is easy to get lost in the drone of the work environment and forget why your employees are there doing what they are doing. Getting out into our Denver community and making a true and deep impact on other people’s lives with your company brings purpose to the work they do at the office. They get to see some of the fruits of their labor being put to use in a very tangible way. Giving a sense of purpose in the office is perhaps one of the most important elements volunteering can produce.

Corporate volunteering has a whole host of benefits on a personal level as well. Like reducing stress, making a difference, building confidence, and learning new skills. Being a volunteer can be one of the most rewarding things you and your business can be a part of.

If you are looking for a great opportunity to volunteer or get your business involved with social projects, get in touch with us. The Lion Project helps connect businesses with at least 4 non-profits per year to produce impactful service projects for each. We would love to be your next community partner!

– by Jeff Rood, Development Manager at The Lion Project

 

Improve Your Culture by Giving Back

Hear from some of our business partners on how volunteering is affecting their business:

Testimonials from Lion Project on Vimeo.

Could Giving Back Make Your Company Soar?

This week, the one airline brand is ripping across headlines, and not the way their PR firm would hope. Video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight has gone viral provoking anger and a nosedive in stock value.

Now, if I asked you which company you’d be excited about working for, United Airlines or Denver’s love-boat-by-sky, Southwest Airlines, who would you choose?

Duh.

And the next time you find yourself on an over-booked flight, which airline do you hope you’ve purchased from?

Again, it’s obvious.

Not to get too deep into that situation, but maybe it’s situations like this, maybe it’s the fun flight attendant jokes or the lovely hearts depicted all over their planes, but there’s a reason more and more American’s are booking with Southwest over United.

Because branding matters.

The internal culture of a company and its interaction with customers – it’s brand – are vital parts of the decision making process whether as professionals seeking opportunity or customers seeking solutions. Because buying decisions are often self-defining ones, creating a great brand is vital for every business.

The question then becomes, how do you practically create a brand people want?

Well, let’s start with not choosing a random paying customer to rip out of their seat and drag them in front of hundreds of fellow, smart-phone-enabled patrons, but you knew that already. Beyond that, there is one very powerful driver in today’s marketplace.

It has several variants – corporate social responsibility, corporate philanthropy, socially conscious branding, corporate citizenship – but the marketplace wants a more than a useable product.

Consumers and professionals alike are seeking to align themselves with brands that give back.

This has driven an increase in investment in cause marketing. Cause marketing is the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.

How Cause Marketing Can Help Your Business infographic

Infographic courtesy of Jacqueline Wolven

This is more than simply writing a check and slapping a logo on someone else’s website. Companies embracing the market’s social responsibility demands are finding ways to leverage their time, resources, and skills to further the work of cause organizations while capturing it to make sure customers know how much they value the community they work in.  The impact is real and the marketing content powerful.

 

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The benefits of cause marketing can’t be ignored.

1. New Audience Exposure & Credibility

It’s almost like a word of mouth endorsement. When your organization is seen in the community working with a trusted organization, you have a near instant connection with that organization’s stakeholders. They already appreciate you because they know you’ve helped a “friend” of theirs – their beloved non-profit.

2. Happy Employees, Happy Life

Studies show that companies with a firm commitment to community involvement and volunteerism have more engaged employees and are more able to recruit talented applicants – especially millennials. This kind of engaged employee leads to greater productivity and company loyalty, making staff turnover and team conflict ancient memories.

Employee Engagement and Consumer Loyalty Infographic

3. Pursuing Public Value Has A Long-Term Return

Getting involved means your company is actively working to create a safer, healthier, and more productive city around you. When you neighbors – who have the same dreams of success – thrive, it lifts up every industry from education to commerce. Whether you’re a salon or contractor or investor, a vibrant economy around you leads to more opportunity, not less.

4. Doing Good is… Great

It’s simple and we all know it: doing good, helping others, focusing on the long-term impact, is a really good thing we need to do more of. It’s like a hot coffee on Monday morning, or spring trees in full bloom, or the Denver Broncos in the playoffs. It’s just right, true, and good. Seriously though, making a difference for someone else is worth the small sacrifices. When a business makes the decision to be involved, they’re usually able to produce social benefits far surpassing that of a single donor.

By participating in something like this, you’re connecting with people who share your values while you and your staff get to contribute to something larger than the day-to-day. It’s a win for you and a win for all of us.

To learn more about how you can get your business involved in the community and benefit from cause marketing, reach out to us. We love connecting groups to our non-profits and we love seeing brands climb the revenue rankings like Southwest.

 

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2nd Annual “An Evening For The Silent Heroes” Recap

This has been an incredible 2015 for The Lion Project! We have seen a tangible change in our local non-profit community with the help of our business partners and donors! We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this successful year!

We recently had our annual event, An Evening For The Silent Heroes, where we had a tremendous amount of supporters come out to enjoy good food, drinks, community, and entertainment. Those in attendance previewed our next four non-profit partners we are working with to help fulfill a tangible need in 2016! They are:

Excelsior
Extended Hands of Hope
Open Door Ministries
Hope House

We look forward to the new year and working with these amazing non-profits!

Why Cause Marketing Matters

Today, more and more companies are making a conscious effort to invest in socially responsible practices that benefit the environment and society, cut costs, and increase brand awareness and profits. They are aware of the benefits to their brand’s reputation and goodwill, but they are also learning that consumers are becoming even more welcoming to the idea, even if they have to spend more at the checkout counter as a result.

Findings from a Nielsen survey of more than 28,000 online respondents from 56 countries around the world state that 66% of consumers say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society. They also prefer to work for these companies (62%), and invest in these companies (59%). 46% of these consumers are socially conscious consumers, explaining that they are willing to pay extra for products and services from these socially responsible companies.

These numbers are growing not only in the US, but globally as well. According to a recent Nielsen global survey, consumer sentiment toward socially responsible companies is growing. In the year-and-a-half since Nielsen published its “Global, Socially Conscious Consumer” report, the percentage of global consumers willing to reward companies that give back to society grew by 5 percent—increasing from 45 percent to 50 percent.

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It is important for organizations to identify their markets and determine which sustainable practices they should pursue in order to maximize the effectiveness of cause marketing efforts. Some consumer markets are not as concerned with sustainable practices as others, so it pays to do the research. In the long run, cause marketing is clearly a smart business choice for any organization looking to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and their bottom line.

 

First Annual Evening of the Silent Heroes Recap

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The staff and board at The Lion Project have been working hard to develop The Lion Project model to connect business owners with non-profits across the city of Denver.  Through the power of storytelling and this past weekend’s event, it all paid off.

 

The Lion Project hosted An Evening for Silent Heroes at Mile High Ministries on Saturday, March 28th.  The evening was shared with over sixty attendees from around the Metro area; while also announcing the four non-profits that The Lion Project will be partnering with for 2015. The event was a great success. We are well on our way to raising our budget goal for the year.  We would like to personally thank those of you who were able to attend this amazing event on Saturday night – we could not have done it without you.

 

View some a photo gallery of the event on our Facebook page and stay tuned for a recap video of the evening, as well as details for our next event.

 

This year, The Lion Project will be partnering with four non-profits by connecting them with business owners from around the city, creating professional documentary-style videos, increasing awareness through strategic marketing, and completing tangible projects to meet the needs of these non-profits.

 

These are our four non-profit partnerships for the year:

 

 

Denver Dream Center
The first non-profit we will be working with will be Denver Dream Center, as we work to renovate a city block in a low-income area in the Denver area through the Adopt-a-Block program. Please come out and join us!
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SaturdayApril 4th “Easter Adopt A Block”

  • Meet at Paco Sanchez Park – 1290 Knox Ct, Denver CO  (13th St and Knox Ct).
  • 10am volunteers arrive, 11am Easter Egg Hunt, 11:30am Lunch (wrapping up at 12:30)

 

Thank you again for your support! Stay tuned for more details as we work to make a positive impact in the community of Denver and be a voice for the silent heroes.

 

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See How We Are Positively Impacting the Lives of Women Escaping Sex Trafficking | Video

The average age of women entering into sex trafficking is 12 to 13 years old. Many women are forced into this industry or have to resort to selling themselves simply to survive. Denver is home to some of the worst human trafficking crimes in the country, but Street’s Hope is working to change that.

Street’s Hope is a safe house in Denver that provides restorative services to women escaping the sex trafficking and the commercial sex industry. It is the only program in Colorado that serves women 18 and older who are escaping sex slavery. Street’s Hope provides food, shelter, medical care, daily group therapy, counseling, like skills training, employment and educational opportunities, and mentoring.

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As part of our cause marketing model, we are working on installing a security system to make the facility more secure, and we are working on repurposing a shipping container in order to provide more office space for the staff.

To learn more about Street’s Hope, watch our video above or visit their website.

We will be releasing our 2015 non-profit projects in the near future. Stay tuned for more updates from The Lion Project.

We Need Your Help!

Here at The Lion Project, we are on a mission to bridge the gap between the hundreds of non-profits who are  serving others, and the hundreds of business owners who are looking for a way to be a part of a sustainable solution for real change in their community.

And we need your help!

Is there a non-profit organization that you absolutely love and you think deserves recognition in the community? We are looking for non-profits in the community of the Denver-Metro area to reach out to to be a part of our unique business model.

Please share your favorite Denver non-profit in the comments below or email us at info@thelionproject.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Cause Marketing Is Important to Your Business

In a world with an ever-increasing emphasis on social responsibility, it is becoming even more important for businesses to focus their marketing efforts on campaigns and strategies that revolve around creating positive change in their communities. Cause marketing, which refers to a type of marketing that involves the cooperative efforts of a for profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit, is now the norm in 2015. Consumers want to know that your business values supporting other great organizations and is interested in the common good.

According to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, 89% of U.S. consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality. Even more intriguing, 42% of North American respondents reported they would pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

These numbers are not to be ignored. Cause marketing can easily be a win-win-win situation if done correctly. Your business receives positive PR, an amazing non-profit receives much-needed support, and your customers feel great about supporting a business that is concerned with making a positive impact. If you want your business to be relevant and profitable, it pays to look into the benefits of cause marketing.

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Infographic courtesy of Jacqueline Wolven

Here are a handful of ways to launch yourself into becoming a successful cause marketer:

1. Give to what matters

It is important that you love the organization that you are supporting just as much as your employees or your customers. Choose an organization that you feel proud to be a part of, and you’ll be even more excited to make a difference in your community. What type of organization would you love to start supporting?

2. Select a cause that relates to your business

There are an incredible amount of amazing non-profits that need your support, but be sure to select an organization that makes sense to support. Do the values of this non-profit align with the values of your business and its individuals? For example, when Procter & Gamble’s Olay brand skin-care line partnered with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, its campaign goal was to inspire women to protect their skin from the sun. PR support yielded widespread broadcast, print and online coverage, helping the program attract more than 9,000 individuals for free skin-cancer screenings.

3. Give more than just money

While it is extremely beneficial for non-profits to receive financial support, consider giving more than just something monetary. Volunteer your time and skills to give a non-profit a much-needed edge so they may be able to serve their clients in ways they may have never imagined. Round up your employees and choose to volunteer for a day. You can even create a marketing campaign or volunteer your bookkeeping knowledge. Feel free to think outside of the box to allow yourself and your employees to get even more involved and make an even bigger impact.

4. Make your partnership official

Discuss how you can help a non-profit get the word out about their organization via social media, email footers, space on your company’s website, or even through professional videos. Don’t forget to ask the non-profit to do the same for you. This is a partnership that should benefit everyone involved, so don’t be afraid to ask for some teamwork on their part – most non-profits will be happy to help.

5. Launch a marketing campaign

Non-profits are always struggling to raise financial support – this is where your business can help immensely. Launch a thought-out marketing campaign to share what your organization is doing, the mission of the non-profit you are supporting, and a prominent link for viewers to click on that will educate them of how they can get involved either financially or as a volunteer.

 

If you are interested in enacting change in the community of Denver and partnering with a non-profit, contact us to set up a meeting. We would love to connect you with non-profits that are doing amazing things in the city of Denver.

How to Effectively Market Your Non-Profit (for Little to No Money)

Here at The Lion Project, we know how difficult it can be to for non-profits to market themselves. But just like any other business, marketing is absolutely crucial for your non-profit to grow and raise support. We know that the marketing budget at your non-profit may be extremely slim or even non-existent, so we have created a list of inexpensive ways to grow your client base, amount of donors, and volunteer network so that your non-profit can continue to do what it does best: help others and improve the community.

 

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First, it is important to build relationships with your current supporters. We all know that it’s never a great idea to ask someone for money the first time you meet them, besides, there are plenty of other ways for them to support your organization than having to ask them for money. Ask them to get involved with your organization by volunteering or donating their skills or time in another way. Allowing them to invest some time in your organization can go a long way, especially through word-of-mouth marketing (aka, when they share your organization with their friends).

Use some of the best free marketing out there: social media. Set up a Facebook page and share updates and photos of your amazing organization and the latest happenings. Use a Twitter account to keep your supporters in the loop with 140-character news bites. Other notable social media tools include Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Most importantly, it is important to engage your supporters at their level and share things that interest them and provide value.

Add blog posts to your website weekly, or even daily. You can write about upcoming events, interesting stories from or about your clients, and anything else that your supporters might find interesting or valuable. We have found that posting at least once a week during the hour of 8:00am or 8:00pm (when the most people are online) will allow your organization to gain some much-needed traction in the world wide web. If you are familiar with SEO (search-engine optimization), be sure to include relevant tags and important keywords that will allow others to find you more easily on the web.

Being primarily a video-production organization, we can easily (and confidently) say that videos are an amazingly effective way to market your business. Videos are able to tell a compelling story of emotion in ways that words or pictures cannot. Elicit the help of a professional video production company – you can always ask them to donate their services – and share the heart of your organization, an instructional video, or an event that you may have hosted recently. In our video-saturated culture, it is important to invest in a video production company that can produce high-quality material to set you apart from the crowd and allow your story to be heard.

 

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Attend trade shows, networking events, or conferences that align with your organization’s values. This is a great way to connect with other like-minded organizations and individuals and gather contact information. Be sure to bring a stack of business cards and make it a point to hand out as many as you can. Who knows? Some of these new contacts could turn into great partnering organizations or even become some of your biggest donors.

Any of these marketing techniques alone can produce some results, but these methods do not stand well alone. In order to market your organization most effectively, it is important that you use these techniques in tandem with one other in order to reach a wider audience. If you utilize these methods, your organization will soon be well on its way to expanding its reach and gaining new supporters.

How do you market your non-profit? Let us know in the comments below.