Many will give a one-time philanthropic gift this holiday season, but why not make your company's generosity last longer than that?

The spirit of giving is all around during the holiday season. It’s easy to feel good about having a canned food drive, purchasing gifts for a children’s charity or making a year-end contribution to a favorite nonprofit.

But while these efforts certainly meet needs, the new year brings a great opportunity for business owners to rethink their philanthropy plans and shift away from one-time support to something that is more meaningful. Support that is sustainable can help deserving nonprofits make a greater impact in the community.

This is especially true for companies that provide business services, such as marketing or public relations firms, event planners, IT consultants or financial services firms.

Since many nonprofit organizations have a limited staff and resources, business service providers and consultants can make an impact by providing in-kind donations in the form of professional services. Invaluable expertise, counsel or an extra set of “hands” working in partnership with the organization’s staff and volunteers can not only help the organization reach its goals and achieve the mission, but help them run efficiently and smoothly while setting them up for long-term growth and success.

The point is: business owners should consider how their company can support the community we live in by helping a nonprofit achieve sustainable growth and success. Maybe this is done by helping a nonprofit streamline their business operations, providing tax services, developing and executing a year-long marketing plan, or offering professional development or training focused on a certain area of expertise.

Here are some ways to get started:

Select a partner with a problem you can solve – Similar to the discovery process with clients, seek out nonprofits that have a need the business can fulfill. This will ensure the partnership is mutually beneficial. The nonprofit is receiving needed services it doesn’t have the resources or capacity to support, and the business is able to offer its expertise and do what it does best.

Determine a level of support – Most businesses already have a certain budget set aside for philanthropy, whether this is through financial giving or investment of staff time. Decide how the business can repurpose some of this budget to put towards services for a nonprofit partner.

Treat the partner like a client – Once the nonprofit partner is selected, treat the organization just like a paying client. Work as an extension of their team and become immersed in understanding the goals of the organization to best make a lasting, sustainable impact.

Involve the whole team – Philanthropy is a great way to build staff morale. Serving a cause everyone in the company can get behind can go a long way in engaging staff. Especially if it is a small business, leaders and owners should work to make sure nearly everyone on the staff has a chance to be involved with the nonprofit partnership in some way.

Businesses of all sizes have a responsibility to give back to the community and support the many outstanding nonprofits working to make a difference. The new year is a great time to rethink how businesses can support nonprofits, and how the greater business community can think beyond traditional giving by donating professional services that can have a meaningful, sustainable impact.

Justin Spring and Danielle Walton are co-founders of Adept Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency focused on building digital campaigns that deliver quantifiable sales growth for clients. It is seeking a nonprofit partner as part of its Adept Gives program in 2018 to receive pro bono digital marketing services. Learn more at