On Community Service

on in Fundraising

Cause Effective was honored with the 2012 Charles T. Haffey Community Service Award last week by the National Minority Business Council.

A recognition of our 3 decades of commitment to the diversity of the nonprofit sector, the award got us thinking about the nature of community service – and in particular, Mr. Haffey’s dedication to seeing the ladder of opportunity extended for all.

And about the partnership between those whose “day job” is in the for-profit sector but whose “heart-work” is giving back via the nonprofit world.

Mr. Haffey, Vice President of Purchasing for Pfizer, advocated for the National Minority Business Council (NMBC) at Pfizer in 1979 to give the organization an office – its first real institutional home. Five years later when he retired, he “went to work” for NMBC as the group’s first corporate executive volunteer, helping NMBC grow and helping its members win contracts through access to the many corporate contacts he’d built up over the years.

NMBC Community Service AwardA simple request for donated space, turned into a lifetime of commitment to a cause.

And the satisfaction of knowing you’d really made a difference in the trajectory of so many lives.

We talk a lot in the nonprofit sector about asking – for time, for donated goods, for advice – as a way of building commitment towards an ultimate request for funds. Focusing on a ladder of engagement where community service is seen as a step in the progression toward financial support.

Focusing on what’s in it for us.

But here’s another angle – what’s in it for them. Those doing the service.

Charles T. Haffey had a keen moral sense of our responsibility to others. And he’s not alone.

Many whose life’s path has taken them into the “for-profit” sector care deeply about the moral compass of the world.  Offering them a route to having an impact through community service, is not just about us and our needs.

It’s about joining hands to build a more equitable society together.

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