Friday, April 8, 2011

Orlando Charities Get Boost From Conventioneers

It is true that the downward spiral that the economy has gone through in the last couple of years has hurt nonprofit organizations.  With spending and lending down, nonprofits have had to struggle to survive; unless they are in Orlando, that is.  According to a recent report in The Orlando Sentinel, nonprofits in the Florida city have had a major advantage over others because of one key fact: the 3 million visitors that go there yearly for corporate retreats, meetings, and conventions.  While these companies visit in Orlando, according to the story, they are increasingly engaging in community service projects through charities and nonprofits in the city to boost their public image.  Chris Allen, executive director at Hands On Orlando, says that his organization has recieved over 2,500 volunteers from many corporations, including French Telecom and G.E.

But it wasn't always like this.  In fact, this trend didn't really start coming to fruition until last year, according to Visit Orlando CEO Gary Sain.  Before that, convention business had seen a sharp drop, especially during 2009.  But those days are gone now, and corporations want to make these community services a part of a larger effort to promote a "corporate social-responsibility platform."  The article gives the example of Aaron's Inc, a lease-to-own retailer, had its employees do volunteer work for Boys & Girls of Central Florida.  At the end of the day, their contributions added up to $200,000 in product and service donations, as well as a whopping 4,500 hours of volunteer time.

It's certainly good to hear that these quality organizations are getting a lot of contributions from corporations, and that they are remaining in business even in hard times.  If you want to read the full article about these Orlando nonprofits, visit The Orlando Sentinel.

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