IT arguably is the first technological supercycle that made our lives substantially more complex than comfortable. Reinventing ourselves as individuals and organizations has become an essential factor to stay relevant and immune towards digital disruptors. Facing both a shift in individual donation patterns and corporate giving, the nonprofit sector remains heavily affected by digitalization. This blog explains how we try to live up to our mission to help nonprofits to raise funds, awareness and engagement through our impactful fitness application.

Some good news first! After a dip in charitable giving caused by the financial crisis, individual and corporate donations in the US are trending upwards since 2009. While the pie is getting bigger on a yearly basis, our experience working with impactful nonprofit partners helps us to better understand their challenges and how we can help them as a Social Business.

Digital marketing and visibility on Social Media

One of the natural struggles we face as a startup is scarcity of resources, both money and time. Prioritization and sometimes letting go ideas or initiatives is a painful process our nonprofit partners can resonate with. A new reality for nonprofits, startups, corporations and individuals is the time that has to be invested into the digital brand, namely juggling Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or Twitter accounts with creative storytelling. It’s a time consuming but absolutely crucial investment for any organization that wants to stay ahead of the curve. We try to help let our users spread awareness for our nonprofit partners on all these channels and create a unique story around every Challenge we run on Atlas.

A potential shift from monetary to personal engagement

According to the National Philanthropic Trust, 72% of the giving in the United States is donated by individuals. Furthermore, approximately 63 million Americans — 25 percent of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy towards a cause. However, studies show that the next wave of engaged citizens – namely millennials – prefer personal engagement over monetary donations and specifically like to donate towards causes they actively engage with personally and on social media. Through Atlas, we offer our users a way to make their workouts count for an impactful nonprofit and to learn more about the causes they are sweating for.

Strategic Shift Corporate Social Responsibility programs

While “only” 5% of the giving in the United States is donated by Corporations, Corporate donations can be a blessing and a curse for nonprofit organizations. While individual donations are coming from a broad base of supporters that tends to remain more or less stable, losing one big corporate donor can push nonprofit organizations into serious trouble. It therefore is extremely important for nonprofit organizations to pursue a proactive corporate relationship management process with their most important corporate donors. Over the last 20-30 years, we’ve also seen an ongoing innovation process in Corporate Social Responsibility that pushed the needle towards strategic business integration. Corporates realize that more and more people want to work for and consume from companies that do business in an ethically and environmentally responsible fashion. Furthermore, digitalization and social media led to more transparency around both, positive and negative business practices. Hence, corporates are investing more in corporate responsibility but also have a clearer expectations and demands towards their nonprofit partners. The trend we most see is finding ways to make corporate responsibility programs more impactful, engaging and visible inside and outside of organizations. With Altas, we strive to provide an instrument to our nonprofit partners that helps them to convince corporations to invest in their impactful approach to solve crucial social and environmental issues.

Local, tangible impact

We love to partner with nonprofits that work in their communities and try to address local issues with a holistic approach. It seems that the more we are connected with the world through social media, the more we have the need to cherish local, non-digital interaction. An example of a such a successful local partnership is Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that recruits members at homeless and residential facilities and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning with local volunteers. After 30 days in the program, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources. Within six months of becoming a Back on My Feet Alumnus, 90% of the members maintain their employment, 60% receive a wage increase and 20% achieve a promotion. One of our main believes at Atlas is that not only money but deep involvement and understanding of an issue within the community will help to solve it. By connecting homeless people, local volunteers and businesses on a level playing field, Back on My Feet is able to create a win-win that embraces mutual respect. Thanks to Atlas, Back on My Feet has an additional tool in its hand to expand its reach to local businesses and their employees as a potential donor and volunteer base.

Our aspiration is to constantly innovate Atlas to create opportunities for our nonprofit partners facing the challenges described in this post. I’m happy to discuss your questions and insights, feel free to reach out to me: olivier@atlasrun.com!