Did you miss The Raleigh Chamber’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Conference? That’s ok. We captured a snapshot of our conversation with the heroic nonprofit, Gabi’s Pals, one of our favorite fulfillment partners. Onto the show…

Mary, Gabi and Danny share a laugh.

Question: Brand Fuel believes deeply in using business as a force for good. Does that mindset help inform your choices about DEI and working with organizations like Gabi’s?
“Fortunately, companies are being judged by their actions or inactions. Companies are getting exposed in how they treat their employees, if the things they make are made by those in safe working environments, paid fair wages and that products are safe, … consumers and employees now have access to the truth in how corporations behave. Things that were once hidden in the C Suite and through NDAs are now public domain. So, at Brand Fuel, our mindset starts with doing the right thing. The Golden Rule. Making the right decision versus the one that helps us be more profitable. And ultimately, the hard decisions are what define us, help us find caring employees, values-aligned customers and vendor partners like Gabi’s Pals. We all have the right to choose. Who we hire. What we sell. Who we buy from. And so does everyone reading this blog.”

Question: How did you first meet Gabi and what was the ‘why’ that drove your decision to begin working with her company?
“We live in the best nonprofit community in the world so when something amazing is happening, people spread the word. It’s a moral imperative to share the good work of community orgs like Gabi’s. So, we reached out to get a tour, understand the vision/capabilities, and meet The Gabi’s team. We had smiles on our faces in minutes witnessing the staff in action and getting hugs from Gabi and Mary. How often does that happen in corporate America? While their pull, pack and ship work was spot on, it
was the mission that had us going back to our office to figure out how to onboard a new vendor and get buy-in. When you have values-aligned employees, they understand and even celebrate the risks. So, one moral of this story is to hire people who care because they are the real decision makers. If you run your business in both bottom up and top-down fashion, you will more often get the results you want. We truly believed our caring clients would embrace this new packing, direct mail fulfillment partner – and they have.”

Question: How does Brand Fuel work with Gabi’s?
“We have always sold inventive kitting direct mail projects for our customers to help them with marketing, sales and human resources teams. Early in the pandemic, we amplified direct mail programs, helping our clients reach staff and customers at home. And the kits got really complex and doing them in-house was a challenge. So, we outsourced much of the kitting/packing work so we could focus on creative, strategic work. Gabi’s was the right partner at the right time as they align with our B Corp certification as well. They are a differentiator in the fulfillment/kitting space and that’s a story to tell and to sell (story-selling).”

Question: Were there any concerns about getting started?
“There were concerns but most that we would have with any partner. If we are honest, there was likely some initial stereotyping around mistakes, speed, communications challenges. And scalability. Anyone in our organization or any of our clients who second-guessed them, owe Gabi and her team a huge apology because they have proven again and again that they are not only capable, but they are also phenomenal at what they do.”

Question: What have been the greatest benefits to your business from working with firms like Gabi’s?
“We strongly believe that capitalism must have a conscience. That for profit and nonprofits can work in concert. That cause-marketing is a great way to sell more and donate more. Choosing Gabi’s as a vendor partner, when there are thousands of companies out there that handle fulfillment projects, is directly related to choosing both profit and purpose. And Gabi’s story is Marketing 101. When we market their story to our clients, they sense our excitement and because they trust us, it allows us to help them
vote with their dollars to support an organization that serves an underserved and heroic workforce
. Costs to work with Gabi’s have been competitive but if we tell the story properly, there’s an argument that we can get our clients to pay more to really invest in a nonprofit community driven organization.”

Question: What would you tell your younger entrepreneurial self about the power of being radically inclusive?

  1. Use the business to help tackle societal issues.
  2. Be less close-minded.
  3. Be more open to hiring those with special abilities.
  4. Seek vendors that are purpose-driven or perhaps nonprofits
  5. Be more collaborative versus competitive. To that end, we are sharing organizations like Gabi’s (and not keeping them a secret) with competitors. This elevates our brand and our industry, and it humanizes our company.”

For more about Gabi’s story and how they can help you, and in turn, how you can help them, check out: https://gabisgrounds.com/gabis-pals/