Recent events have compelled nonprofit organizations to change the way they get work done, how they deliver their services, and what they do to achieve a more just and equitable society. So, The Business of Giving has connected with those organizations that are doing this exceptionally well in a segment we call: The Paths Forward. Because there is more than just one way.
Denver: In this edition of The Paths Forward we’ll speak with team members at Good360. Good360 is a global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving. They partner with some of the world’s largest corporations to source essential goods and distribute them through their network of diverse nonprofits, supporting people in need and opening opportunity for all.
Since the start of the pandemic, the organization has experienced significant growth as described by Jason and Tiffany
Jason: And just the scale at which we’ve grown in terms of the projects that we take on or the operating capacity that we have its felt like the organization has really evolved exponentially each month. Feels like the challenges that we saw six months ago now wouldn’t be a challenge because we’re continuing to grow and build to get better.
Tiffany: And just to contextualize the growth that they’re talking about, in 2019, we helped about $330 million worth of donations to 90,000 nonprofits, whereas last year we did over $1 billion worth of donations to over 100,000 nonprofit partners, impacting more than 14 million lives of people in need. And so certainly that, if anything, is the biggest silver lining there is The Good360 Culture prides itself on efficiency. Katie and Corey tells us this starts at the beginning of everyday.
Katie: Another component of our processes that was well into place pre-pandemic, I’ve been with the organization about three years now, is our morning huddle and that’s where the team would always gather. Used to be in person at 8:45 a.m. to talk through inbound donations and kind of parsed out how we’re distributing those. And that quickly transferred over to a morning Zoom call. And it’s been a great way where particularly I’m in a bit of a silo on our merchandising team with just one other colleague, and this huddle, gosh, it used to be like seven to eight people and now, I don’t know, it’s 20 by now. So it’s a great way, first thing in the morning, to see most people’s faces or at least hear them and to have an opportunity to connect and strategize for the day
Corey: So I would like to jump in and talk about how I would describe the culture here in Good360 in a word or phrase. I would describe it in one word, efficient. We’re always looking for ways to streamline process. We handle so many projects on a daily and weekly basis that we have to find ways to make things work a little better. And that ties in with what Katie just said about the morning huddle. There was a time when we didn’t have that. And now that’s
like an important part of the day. So many people are involved in that meeting and it just helps us to move things forward in a faster way.
Denver: The organization has adapted to this remote / hybrid culture in several ways which, in turn, has helped the way working from home is viewed. Jason, Tiffany, Corey and Katie share some perspectives.
Jason: It’s because of the environment, I think it’s caused us to be more intentional in how we onboard because when you’re just bringing somebody into the office, it’s easy to maybe wing it and say, oh, let’s see who’s available, let’s go to this person, whereas now with everything kind of needing to be a little more structured and a little more scheduled working from home. I know that for each person I brought on, built out a very specific [00:29:00] onboarding plan around who it is that they need to connect with, being cognizant of everyone’s time because to my previous, earlier point, we’re much busier now than we’ve ever been, is who is it for this specific role really important that they connect with, what do I want to make sure it is they get from that time that they have, and then help facilitate those connections.
Tiffany: And we have had a lot of really thoughtful applications of what that looks like, whether it’s at the end of the week we have something called Wine 29, which has very little to do with drinking and everything to do with connecting. And we’ve even had points during the pandemic where we decided to roll that back and get rid of it. And we found really quickly that that was an invaluable opportunity for us to connect as people. The running joke is that if you bring up work at Wine 29, then you’re going to get kicked out. It’s really important for us to have an opportunity just to connect as people. And then I’ve also been really impressed at the ways in which my coworkers have gone out of their way to connect with me personally, whether that’s on Teams, just sending a message saying, “Hey, I saw you on a meeting and it looked like you may have been distracted or upset. Are you okay?” Or if when those few moments have actually presented themselves, being able to be in person with one another and have opportunities to grow together as an organization, really, really rewarding.
Corey: With regards to the silver lining, I see the silver lining that those at the organization who really were against working remotely because there were and there are some people who still aren’t big fans of it, they now see that we can be successful in doing it. We’re productive. We’re not home lying on the couch, watching Days of Our Lives, we’re actually working. We’re doing things, we’re making moves, we’re completing projects, and we’re focused. And I’m so glad that now, those who are against it are now seeing, oh, okay, I was wrong. We proved them wrong.
Katie: I think it’s more like self realized. There always was that trust, but it’s just there’s proof in it now in a way, that it’s like we were always doing it. Like we knew they trusted us, but now it’s confirmed in a way, like it really can be done. Because I never felt that I wasn’t trusted to get the work done before, but I felt more like I needed to prove it. And now that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. It’s just like known that we’re all doing the work and we’re able to track it and see the outcomes.
Denver: A final thought from each of our participants: Jason on Leading Virtually: Katie on Documentation; Corey on Culture and Tiffany will speak about Purpose.
Jason: Leading it virtually is, one is balancing that, making sure you’re giving the team room to breathe and do the work that they do and not feel like you’re checking in on them, but making them not feel like you’re so disconnected that you’re not interested. So it is trying to find that line of going through and figuring out how much is enough or how to engage. It’s also different when you’re in the office, there have been times where the team’s been all together where you can just casually lean over and say something, whereas when you’re in a Teams chat, text and verbal language connotation, how things can be interpreted, all of those things, those changed. And so trying to be thoughtful on how you communicate with others, how much humor is enough versus too much. Sometimes my team will tell me enough with the dad jokes and I’ll have to cool it, but just finding ways to make sure you stay connected without being overbearing.
Katie: And when I came on, I needed documentation of how to run through the processes, but it’s also for the sake of the organization. In the past couple of years, we’ve brought on Jason and his background, my background, we came from places where there were some set procedures and seeing that wasn’t fully written out, it was the combination of, I need to do this for my new employee, but also, heck, to help myself. I need to make sure that this is all written down somewhere so someone can step in. With the threat of someone being out sick for 10 days with COVID, I had definite panics when I was working. Like, man, like I need to think a couple more steps ahead. I have to queue up some projects and be able to because what’ll happen if I’m in a bed and how will we continue on? And so I think it was smart of us to find ways to document more of our processes so that, again, Corey has a backup, he’s been doing this job forever. But now we’re getting smarter about are we ensuring that we have capabilities across, beyond just one person to carry on with the work because the work is growing and we need to have those extra helping hands that can jump in.
Cory: I would say that it’s been like a process that has trickled down from the top. I feel like our CEO, Matt, having a strong background and reverse logistics and supply chain has helped us move in that direction. So with these morning meetings, we are able to find fast ways to move products. We’re big in logistics and during the morning meetings, we have to discuss how we’re going to get contributions from point A to point B. So we decide, are we going to take this into the warehouse? Are we going to move it directly from a corporation to one of our nonprofit partners? And how fast can we do this? And what carrier are we going to use? And how much is it going to cost? And with Matt having great knowledge in that area, he’s able to quickly answer
questions and just help us move faster in that direction to get things from point A to point B, as I stated before.
Tiffany: But we also have a really diverse team in terms of function and professional and life experiences. And so that level of trust and camaraderie and
collaboration is absolutely essential for every single thing that we do at Good360. And so I’ll speak for myself, but I think that I am in good company here in saying that I’m genuinely proud to work with the people that I work with because they’re just phenomenal professionals and phenomenal people. And so being able to rub shoulders with them while also being able to deliver on the impact that we’re also passionate about delivering, to close those any gaps to open opportunity for all, that is an incredible outcome for the admittedly significant amount of work that we put into what we do every day.
Dnver: I want to thank the Good360 team members who participated in this piece: Jason MacFarlane, Katie Niersbach, Corey Porter & Tiffany Osborne And to hear more from Good360 come to denver-frederick.com and hear my full interview with Matt Connolly, the CEO of Good360.
Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving serves as a Strategic Advisor and Executive Coach to NGO and Nonprofit CEOs and Board Chairs. His Book, The Business of Giving: The Non-Profit Leaders Guide to Transform Leadership, Philanthropy, and Organizational Success in a Changed World, will be released in the spring of 2022.
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