Corporations are teaming up with the nonprofit sector more than ever before. They’re taking a new approach to philanthropy with business leaders asking, “Where can a marginal dollar do the most good?”
But what do corporate partnerships with nonprofits actually look like?
Successful nonprofit-corporate partnerships are, above all else, mutually beneficial. Nonprofit organizations no longer have to bear the brunt of driving social change alone. The world of corporate-nonprofit partnerships has since moved past simple corporate philanthropy toward a more collaborative, integrated, and impactful system.
Such partnerships have many benefits. They benefit the nonprofits and corporations that engage in them while creating a lot of shared value for society at large.
A Focus on Impact: The Value of Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships
Today, profit generation cannot be a company’s only raison d’être – at least not in the age of increased social awareness. For instance, there’s a growing awareness that human actions can, and do, harm the environment. Consumers are, therefore, looking to brands to help them make a difference.
Businesses of all sizes and across all industries are accelerating their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. As such, successful corporate partnerships have become about aligning brands and visions. Consequently, more for-profit organizations are taking the lead on social and humanitarian issues, whether they are championing children’s rights, advocating for climate change policy, or attempting to eradicate poverty on local, national, or even global levels.
For nonprofits, some of the benefits of partnering with corporate organizations are obvious – more operating funds. Lack of funding is a stark and unfortunate reality facing many nonprofits. Without funding, there are no programs. And without programs, there is no impact.
A corporate partnership can also enhance a nonprofit’s community standing. Truth be told, it can be difficult to stand out in the nonprofit crowd. A corporate partner not only brings their dollars but also offers an extensive network that could increase your reach and enhance your brand image. Aligning with a well-established corporation also lends additional credibility to your organization, thereby opening up more avenues for funding.
In reality, there are gives and takes for both sides in a nonprofit-corporate partnership. Nonprofits have as much value to provide corporations as corporations have to provide nonprofits.
To A Corporation, Cause-Related Marketing Is Not Philanthropy
It’s important to clarify that corporate partnerships aren’t handouts. Nonprofits bring actual tangible value to corporations. At their core, corporate-nonprofit partnerships are alliances. They’re a way for nonprofit and for-profit organizations to align themselves toward a common cause.
But from an optics perspective, corporate-nonprofit partnerships are used to bolster a company’s image and build its brand as a socially responsible organization. Socially responsible ventures and policies also go a long way toward attracting and retaining customers and employees. What’s more, many consumers will gladly pay a premium for products and services if they know part of the company’s profits will go towards supporting a social cause.
If you’re a nonprofit leader looking to increase and diversify your revenue streams, the for-profit world is the most obvious and most promising place to look. Such partnerships, of course, are not risk-free. That’s why it’s crucial to focus on value alignment. You don’t want to partner with an organization whose business practices are antithetical to your nonprofit’s mission and values.
If you’re curious to see if your nonprofit is ready to seek out a corporate partnership, reach out to us. We’d be happy to have a conversation to see if it’s a good time for you to seek out a mutually beneficial relationship with a corporate partner.