Nonprofits need for-profit businesses.
They have office equipment and supplies to purchase, marketing materials to design and print, legal work to contract out. They also benefit from the charity drives, events and nonprofit discounts their generous for-profit partners offer them in the spirit of giving back to the community.
But what about for-profit companies? Besides enjoying tax breaks for donations, what do they get out of partnering with nonprofits?
Actually, a lot!
As you will see from the following story involving Kern Community Foundation partners who either work or have worked in the for-profit sector, nonprofits can offer job training and creation, income-generating referrals, valuable networking opportunities and human-focused services — especially in times of need. To say nothing of the morale boost that comes from working together for the common good.
How Terri met Jonny
Terri Agcaoili worked in cosmetics retail for 20 years before joining the Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Kern County as its sales and marketing coordinator.
What made her switch over to nonprofit work? Her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“I love what ADAKC did for my grandpa and my mom as a caregiver,” she said.
The adult day services her grandfather received allowed her mom to have some respite and freed her up to go back to work. In gratitude, Agcaoili began volunteering. When a job in marketing opened up a couple of years later, she was an obvious recruitment choice thanks to her sales background and because she had become familiar with the agency through her volunteer work.
Already involved with the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce through its Ambassadors Program, Agcaoili became an even more passionate ambassador after transitioning to ADAKC and “I invited all the ambassadors to take a tour of the agency,” she said.
One of her fellow ambassadors was Jonny Perez, who handles public relations and community outreach for local design and marketing company Deprigo Media. Seeing ADAKC’s work up close drove a point home for him:
“I saw how Alzheimer’s affects many people in Kern County,” he said. “I realized how important it is to help the people who raised our generation and are now suffering from this disease.”
While on the tour, Agcaoili and Perez started talking business, as ADAKC needed some printing at the time. After looking over their needs and the price they had been offered by another supplier, Perez told her: “I can definitely give you a better price. I’ll work with you as a nonprofit.”
And that was the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership.
A grateful Agcaoili started spreading the word about Deprigo.
“Whenever they help us out, I want them to benefit,” she said. “I’ve sent my nonprofit friends, my for-profit friends, even my family to them. I am their free advertising.”
One of the agencies Agcaoili referred to Perez was Kern Community Foundation, which now uses Deprigo for much of its printing needs.
Perez agreed that Deprigo Media enjoys a lot of business generated by referrals from nonprofit clients.
“We’re in business to make money,” he said. “And there is no marketing better than word of mouth. Doing what we do well gets us referrals.”
But he also recognizes this: “The community has always given back to us. Any money we have invested in the community has come back to us tenfold.”
Closing the circle by giving back
“If I got commission on all the work I’ve sent their way, I probably could retire,” Agcaoili said with a chuckle.
However, she also praised all that Deprigo, and Perez in particular, have given back to ADAKC — and it’s not just about business, either.
“You can tell the love Jonny has for us,” she said. “Now he volunteers at our events: He helps to set up marketing displays and even serves food.”
Both Agcaoili and Perez agree that giving back is part of the makeup of Bakersfield and Kern residents.
“This community, we’re raised to give back and be involved,” she said.
“That’s why I love living in Bakersfield,” he said.
They are business partners who have become friends through sales transactions, referrals, volunteering, and caring.
“And you’ll never know when he might need us,” Agcaoili said about her friend. “One of his staff members might come to him and say, ‘My mom’s not acting right.’ And then they’ll need our services.”
Louis Medina works as the manager of community impact for Kern Community Foundation. He may be reached at Louis@kernfoundation.org.