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Impact of Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships

A nonprofit-corporate partnership is a relationship in which a nonprofit organization and a business join forces to meet a common goal.

If you manage a nonprofit, you know how vital relationships with local businesses can be to developing support and credibility AND if you run a business, you know that giving back to your community can not only make a difference, but it can engage your employees and build your reputation.

But what does making an impact really look like when these two entities join forces?

“Impact” can mean different things to different people. When you want to develop a long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnership you need to find someone who shares your values, goals, and understands how to measure what matters.

There are many strategies that can take nonprofit-corporate partnerships to the next level. We’ll discuss a few here.

Finding the Right Fit

Finding an organization that shares your values is critical to a successful nonprofit-corporate partnership. So before you seek a partner, ask yourself:

  • What are my organization’s values?

  • What do we want to accomplish through this partnership?

  • What resources – financial, human capital, goods – can we contribute to the community?

  • What would our organization like to be known for in the community?

  • What specific need or problem in the community is our organization best suited to address?

Don’t worry if you can’t answer these questions and identify a cause on your own. Outside support from a strategic partner like Curio412 can help provide guidance.

Defining Goals

Once you have a general idea of which types of partners may fit the needs of your organization, it is worthwhile to invest time in having detailed discussions with potential partners to identify what “impact” means to each of you, and what measurements will define a successful outcome. Sometimes success can be measured immediately upon completion of a project, however for larger visions it may take a few years to measure the impact of your partnership.

Measuring Impact

With defined goals, you can begin to determine the best methods for collecting meaningful data about the results of your partnership. Be sure to benchmark at the start of your project so that you have a baseline to understand what changed as a result of your collaboration. For example if you hope to increase employee engagement, utilize tools such as surveys or evaluations to get a pulse on what is happening. Then as your project progresses, you can track your success. Not only will you be able to see meaningful results, but you’ll also be able to understand the return on investment for your efforts.

Once you’ve decided that engaging in a nonprofit-corporate partnership makes sense for you it’s here are some tips to help you get started:

  • List potential partners: Decide what types of companies or organizations would make sense as partners. This may align with your organization’s area of expertise or possibly with the passion of your team.

  • Use your network: Who might have a connection to the partners you are looking for? Use them to learn more about the organization as well as to get introductions. Your colleagues, team, or organizations like a local business chamber can be invaluable here.

  • Explore alignment: Once you’ve identified possible organizations make sure your values match - look into their company cultures and values. Where areas of expertise align, see if your organization can contribute meaningfully to solutions. For instance, a food bank or shelter seeking food donations might partner with a grocery or hotel chain looking to cut down on food waste.

  • Determine your capacity: What investment of your time and energy are you able to make? Consider the contributions your organization can feasibly provide in this partnership - monetary support, volunteer time, increased awareness. If your team has limited time and you partner with an organization looking for volunteers, you may need to reevaluate.

Communicate your goals: Be sure to clearly define and communicate the results you hope to achieve. Communicating with your partner about how its time, talents, and donations will make a difference can make your leadership and team even more enthusiastic and committed. Make sure you meet to discuss details and strategy. Deeper conversations could bring to light others issues you want to address in the community and open the door for even more collaborative opportunities.

Curio412 is a consultancy for businesses and nonprofits who want to improve their bottom line, build relationships, and scale meaningful impact. We believe in creating lasting impact. Which is why we share knowledge and tell stories to keep nonprofits, business, social enterprises, and charitable organizations informed about current trends, ideas, and impact.

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