For nonprofits, the benefits of entering into a corporate partnership are innumerable. This is due to the fact that corporations today are no longer just concerned with creating the next big thing and turning a profit. Making an impact on society is becoming just as critical as companies take an interest in wider social issues. The growing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means that companies are taking the lead and venturing into humanitarian projects — from climate sustainability to community development.
As such, there are more opportunities to partner with corporations to increase visibility and funds for a nonprofit. Such partnerships as symbiotic relationships provide value to both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Corporate Partnership Benefits for Nonprofits
Nonprofits have a lot to offer businesses, including:
- Improved brand image and higher sales as consumers are willing to pay more to a company that shares their values
- Improved employee satisfaction and morale as people are more engaged when they feel their work has a higher purpose
- A marketing and communication platform for CSR activities
- Strengthening a company’s local reputation and competitive advantage in the marketplace.
As for nonprofits, the benefits of corporate partnerships are more obvious. Corporate partnerships can expand your influence in the community, generate much-needed revenue, and help you grow your volunteer force.
However, corporations and nonprofits operate in very different realities, making it important to partner with a corporation that shares similar values. For instance, it makes no sense for a public health nonprofit to partner with a tobacco company as the objectives of one organization would likely undercut the other. Focusing on brand alignment preserves and builds your reputation, allowing you to enhance community standing while generating vital funding.
Developing a Successful Corporate Partnership Engagement Program
Developing a strategy to connect with corporate partners can help you grow your nonprofits and make a positive impact in the community you serve. If you run a small nonprofit, focus on finding local businesses whose values strongly align with your own. Get clear on what the business stands to gain from your arrangement and find ways to make the partnership stronger over time.
What are three vital components of a successful corporate engagement plan for nonprofits?
1. Organizational/Brand Discovery
Decide what types of companies would make sense as partners for your projects. Develop value alignment criteria to evaluate potential corporate partners so as to find the best fit. Whatever connections you may have in your local community, use them to approach business leaders and high-level executives.
2. Create a Partnership Development Strategy
Evaluate the ways in which your nonprofit can help the company solve some of its problems or improve its brand image. A cause that’s driven by a marketing partnership can leverage the goodwill that comes with partnering with a nonprofit to increase sales and brand loyalty among consumers. For example, a food bank might be able to partner with a grocery chain looking to cut down on food waste.
Make sure to detail the ways in which the partnership would be mutually beneficial for the parties involved.
3. Get Buy-In from Corporate Stakeholders
Getting a nonprofit corporate partnership and maintaining one in the long term are not the same thing. Business leaders want a return on their investment, which means it’s up to nonprofit managers to demonstrate their value. Make sure to clearly articulate the benefits from their perspective such as improved brand perception or increased social media engagement.
Remember, just as the corporate partner will reflect your values to its customers, their values will also impact your reputation. So, make sure to partner with companies you are proud to associate with — now and for years down the line.
If you’re a nonprofit and would like to explore the idea of partnering with a corporation, reach out to us today for a no-obligation conversation.