2017 ANNUAL BENEFIT REPORT INTRODUCTION
HCollaborative was designated as an Oregon Benefit Company in 2016 and continues to dedicate itself towards actualizing this business model. We pride ourselves on being inclusive, sustainable, ethical and transparent with each of our clients. We practice the “3 P’s” of People, Planet, and Profit. Our business goal is not to reap large profits but provide exceptional work at a fair and affordable price to our clients. To us, this is at the very heart of being a Benefit Company.
HCollaborative received its Benefit Company certification in 2016 by Green America. Here’s what that organization said about us:
“We are very impressed with your commitment to supporting non-profit organizations and advancing social justice. Congratulations on earning Green America’s Green Business Certification.”
— Michael Stein, Green America
HCOLLABORATIVE VALUE PROPOSITION
We bring high-level strategic visioning and communication to our clients. But we look at these critical services for organizations a bit differently than other firms.
Understanding Our Community: From Baby Boomers to Millennials, HCollaborative team members reflect the faces and voices of our communities today. This allows us to engage and communicate with individuals and businesses with an understanding of the cultural values and communication styles represented by these diverse groups. We are nationally recognized for our work with cultural competency, health equity, social determinants of health and literacy. Which, of course, are important principles within the business and nonprofit worlds.
During 2017 we became much more engaged with social enterprises and small entrepreneurs who seek to become cause-driven organizations guided by the principles of the Triple Bottom Line. They represent the new business community of companies desiring to serve their stakeholders and as well as improve their bottom line
Service: As an agency, HCollaborative sees our role as providing an exceptional product and exemplary service. It’s not about us, it is about our clients. We practice servant leadership. It is our client’s project and we view our relationship with them as a partnership. Our team checks their egos at the door. We are structured to be nimble and able to respond quickly to shifting needs.
Honest, Ethical, Transparent: Our clients share how refreshing it is to work with an agency where both principals have developed stellar reputations for teamwork, performance and humility throughout their careers. You need look no further than our individual LinkedIn pages where client testimonials offer unmistakable proof of those qualities.
Vendors: It’s our practice to pay our vendors in a timely manner even if HCollaborative has not received payment from a client for a project.
Value: Our goal as a Benefit Company is to achieve a smaller footprint on the environment. HCollaborative’s virtual model embraces that goal and reduces overhead costs. Those savings get passed onto our clients in the form of lower fees and enables us to work with nonprofits and mission-driven organizations with limited budgets.
“We believe every mission-driven organization has a story that must be told. A courageous story about overcoming injustice, eliminating disparities or empowering communities. These stories awaken us from our sleepy lives to serve as a beacon of hope in a world full of fear and cynicism. We believe every mission-driven organization deserves the opportunity to work with passionate visionaries and storytellers whose one and only mission is to bring forth ideas that strike a resounding and emotional chord in the hearts of mankind. Whose painstaking work becomes a catalyst for meaningful social change. And helps restore our faith in the collective goodwill of humanity. We believe every mission-driven organization, when all is said and done, makes a powerful and soul-stirring difference in the world.”
OUR SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS
HCollaborative became a key member of the Oregon Small Business Utility Association. We helped provide input and written testimony to share with Oregon state legislators regarding a "Clean Energy Jobs" bill that relates to putting a cost on carbon and using proceeds to support other carbon reduction efforts.
In addition, as a Benefit Company, HCollaborative believes in and follows green practices at the workplace. These efforts include:
- Working in home offices
- Using only recycled paper when necessary and printing on both sides of the sheet
- Taking light rail and biking (weather permitting) to meetings
- Supporting environmental organizations through consulting (reduced fee or pro bono), membership or advocacy efforts
OUR SUPPORT OF BENEFIT COMPANIES
HCollaborative believes in the Benefit Company movement both in Oregon and in the country. In 2017, we used our passion to advocate for this new business paradigm by:
Writing blogs and news stories about the Benefit Corporation movement:
June 30, 2017, Portland Business Journal, Guest Column: ‘How Benefit Companies Can Help Save the Planet’
This research and writing culminated in the publication of our book, “Putting Soul Into Business: How the Benefit Corporation is Transforming American Business for Good.” It is available on Amazon.
Pro bono or Discounted Services: Throughout 2017, HCollaborative helped various mission-driven organizations, nonprofits and cause-driven organizations with pro bono or discounted services. These services included:
- Strategic Visioning: This is a more flexible, creative and nimble approach than traditional “strategic planning.” It creates engagement and ownership with staff and key stakeholders while delivering a realistic plan to implement.
- Qualitative Research: Focusing on key informant interviews and focus groups to uncover the core needs and perceptions of future and current customers and clients
- Manifesto Creation: This is different from a mission-statement as it communicates an organization’s deep emotional principles, core values, beliefs, authenticity and differentiation. A manifesto is a bold plan for a better world, a healthier community, a stronger organization.
SUPPORT FOR THE GREATER COMMUNITY GOOD:
HCollaborative provided significant pro-bono help around strategic branding as the interim, ad-hoc Marketing Director for AFRICA BOUND. This is a a 501-c3 NGO, dedicated to introducing and promoting business opportunities between Africa and the world, around the NEEM tree. All senior level marketing consultation provided by HCollaborative was offered at no cost to the organization. www.africabound.org
HCollaborative’s Senior Partner, Tom Hering, served as Board Member and Advocacy Co-Chair for the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty. This is a collective effort by 13 faith communities to bring help and hope to citizens living in poverty in our region. Leading advocacy efforts at the local and state levels throughout 2017, the organization helped create awareness and sparked action regarding policies and legislation to improve the challenges of low-income housing in the Portland, Oregon region.
Also noteworthy among our clients in 2017 were two nonprofits, striving to enhance social justice and equity in the state of Oregon around healthcare and education. HCollaborative provided market research, strategic planning and branding services to these clients at reduced fee:
- We Can Do Better: A non-partisan organization working in coalitions with other organizations who share the belief that that health reform should result in better health, lower or contained costs, and a better experience for all people. https://www.wecandobetter.org/
- I Have A Dream: Founded in 1990 to help low income children reach success in school and college. Their programs deliver a proven combination of core services to students: long-term relationships with caring adults, academic and personal/social support services, and creating a “culture of college” with the school environment.