The Inside Track: Local businesses contribute their expertise to better the community

Kristy Weaver, Pacific Continental Bank

Choosing the right organization

When businesses begin to consider a nonprofit partner, it is important to select an organization that matches the company’s values. Moreover, it is critical to establish goals for your efforts and determine how they can be achieved to ensure a successful outcome for all.

When selecting a nonprofit partner, the following questions should be considered:

·         Does the cause(s) of the nonprofit match your business values? And, how do those causes connect to your type of business?

·         What expertise and in what capacity can your business contribute to the chosen nonprofit?

·         Are your employees already involved with a local nonprofit that would make for a good fit?

A prime example of how a business’s expertise can create a positive impact in the community is the Club Bank volunteer program that has been established in Vancouver by Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington and Pacific Continental Bank.

Through the Club Bank program, Pacific Continental volunteers teach children and adolescents valuable strategies to handle finances. The goal is to prepare teens for a financially stable future, both personally and in business. Club Bank is fully staffed by teens from Boys & Girls Club and is a vital part of the organization’s overall effort to educate young adults on the importance of commerce. Members utilize the bank as a safe place to store their “Club Bucks,” which are earned through good behavior and can be used at the Club Store to purchase items like school supplies and Boys & Girls Club apparel.

Not only have Club Bank members devised an account ledger to keep track of all open accounts, they have also created a simple system for interest-bearing accounts to show the importance of maintaining and building savings. Club Bank has been so successful that Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington has been recognized nationally, winning two awards for their efforts. In addition, Club Bank is one of the most popular educational programs among adolescent members at the Boys & Girls Club.

Creating the right program

When developing a philanthropic program, a business might consider choosing a point person or committee to map out the logistics, including choosing team members, assigning responsibilities, deciding on time commitments and creating a strategy for short- and long-term success.

 In addition, it is important for the business to help their nonprofit partner designate specific goals. This enables both the business and the nonprofit to be clear on the planned benefits and outcomes.

Finding the right nonprofit partner or partners for your business, whether it is youth education, family services or community arts can result in  stronger company values and culture, immeasurable benefit to the local community and ultimately a better economic environment.

Kristy Weaver is a senior vice president and relationship banking manager at Pacific Continental Bank. She can be reached at

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.