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Business aids nonprofits

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By Solja Nygard Frangos

Nonprofits involved in community development, education and the environment in five metro areas soon can get free help from business professionals, thanks to Net Impact, a network of 5,500 MBA students and grads, along with other business professionals.

Net Impact, founded in 1993 as Students for Responsible Business, is asking members to volunteer with nonprofits in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Chicago and the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.

Members who volunteer will help nonprofits with marketing, finance, organizational development and strategic planning.

The goal is to assist at least five nonprofits in each region, with roughly three volunteers working for each project, says Chris Council, program coordinator in San Francisco.

Volunteers spend 10 hours to 15 hours a month on projects, which are selected from applications that nonprofits submit.

If a nonprofit had to pay for that help, Council says, it would costs about $13,500.

Participation gives volunteers an opportunity to refine their business skills and apply them in a socially responsible manner, he says.

In Washington, D.C., where the program was launched in March, Net Impact selected nine projects from 25 applications.

It assigned volunteers to develop a business plan for the National Parks Conservation Association, for example, and linked volunteers to America’s Charities, a workplace drive organizer, to develop a marketing plan.

The initiative will be launched in New York and San Francisco in April, and in Chicago and the Raleigh-Durham area in May.

Nonprofits in Chicago and Raleigh-Durham can submit applications until March 14.

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