Better corporate-nonprofit partnerships are made possible with the right strategies in place. While cash may be king to most nonprofits, when it comes to designing a strategy for nonprofits partnering with corporations, good partnerships focus on what each partner can bring to the table to fill each other’s gaps. And often, as a result, a broader impact is achieved than if a company or a nonprofit were to act alone.
But getting there is easier said than done.
Designing a Strategy for Nonprofits Partnering with Corporations
A corporate partnership strategy aims to build a meaningful alliance that leads to bigger and more innovative opportunities for development. The more complex societal problems become, the more such relationships make sense.
Here’s how you can develop a corporate partnership strategy to facilitate stronger, more sustainable development partnerships.
Step 1: Identify the Shared Opportunity
Times have changed, and profit is no longer the only raison d’être for the existence of corporations. Businesses are delving into the realm of community development, aiming to operate in ways that enhance the well-being of communities and society. Many of the development challenges they’re dealing with are connected to the large-scale problems nonprofits have been tackling for decades.
As such, nonprofits have the unique ground experience corporations want to leverage. The purpose of this stage is to determine what your brand has to offer and your unique value proposition.
Step 2: Gather Donor Intelligence
Corporations are accustomed to making business decisions based on insights derived from rigorous market research. For this reason, nonprofits must use data to shape and inform corporate partnership strategies. In essence, you’re developing criteria to identify, select and engage the right partners.
Follow these steps for a strategic approach to partner selection, maintenance and implementation:
a. Identify corporate partners with aligned interests
Conduct due diligence on potential partners to determine compatibility as well as shared and aligned interests.
b. Analyze donor funding flows and programming
What kind of programs have potential partners historically engaged in? Most corporations publicly disclose funding and programming in different sectors and regions. Gathering this data can help you develop and rank a list of potential corporate partners.
c. Package development
Create structured, tiered, and customized packages around specific subjects, disciplines and other offerings to present corporations with different ways to become involved with your cause.
d. Determine points of entry
Determine how best to engage potential partners. For instance, informal conversations with corporate partners can help you understand the company’s operations, mission, and priorities.
Step 3: Program Stewardship for Nonprofits Partnering with Corporations
Implement a robust monitoring and evaluation framework with measurable indicators to determine the value of the corporate partnership.
It’s crucial to have M&E strategies in place during the course of a program so there can be course correction if there’s an area that’s not working. Data can tell a powerful story and is often the foundation of a compelling corporate partnership strategy.
We are Here to Help!
At van Dillen Partners, we’re committed not only to making corporate nonprofit partnerships work, but we’re also driven to help nonprofits and their for-profit partners drive greater impact. Contact us today to take the leap from talking about partnerships to actually forming them.