Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Nonprofit Interview

In a previous post I challenged other business professionals to become more involved in charitable giving. A part of the challenge was to seek out a favorite charity or a staff nominated charity and conduct a simple interview in an effort to learn more about the organization and how they could get involved.

I've learned that there are communication barriers between nonprofits and for profits, so I thought this might inspire dialogue between the two groups. For nonprofits, this is a great way of gaining sponsorships. For businesses, this is an opportunity to increase feelings of good will and community involvement.

My choice was Rob Laidlaw, director of Zoocheck Canada ( .

Describe your organization - programs, people, brief history, how you got involved:

Zoocheck Canada is a national animal protection charity established to protect wildlife in captivity and in the wild. Zoocheck started in 1984 with an investigation into conditions in the zoos of Ontario. In 1988, Zoocheck became a formal organization with a board of directors and achieved charitable status approximately one year later. Since that time, Zoocheck has expanded its scope and now conducts campaigns to protect wild animals across the country and internationally.

I conducted the initial investigation that led to the creation of Zoocheck, so I have been involved from the first day.

What are some of the challenges you face in reaching program goals?

One of the biggest problems faced in reaching program goals is lack of funds. Conducting consistent, long term campaigns requires both staff and resources. While some campaigns can be conducted on a shoe-string budget using volunteer labour, conducting hard-hitting campaigns that can influence government and industry are difficult and expensive.

How do you deal with these challenges?

So far, there has been no satisfactory solution. While Zoocheck Canada does it's best to raise funds and support, doing so is difficult for a small organization. Raising support is time consuming and expensive.

What do you think businesses can do to help?

Businesses can help organizations like Zoocheck by assisting in fund raising initiatives, sponsoring campaigns and publicizing their various activities. Sponsoring specific projects or campaigns, and not shying away from initiatives aimed at achieving political change, can make a world of difference. Smaller businesses can supply reduced rates for services or gifts in kind. Helping is really limited only by the imagination of the people involved.
I'm interested in hearing from anyone else whose business supports a nonprofit and what you have done to be involved in your community...