Corporate Partnership Case Study: iMentor and Marsh & McLennan
[Editor's note: This is part 3 of a four-part series on the session "Building Strategic Corporate Partnerships" held at Fund Raising Day in New York June 8. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.]
Sometimes, certain nonprofit-corporate partnerships don't turn out the way both parties expected at the onset. Take the partnership between high school mentoring organization iMentor and professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Cos. (MMC).
In initial discussions, MMC thought iMentor would make a great partner with its consulting company Oliver Wyman. However, both parties learned that it didn't quite work, said Lina Klebanov, deputy director of corporate social responsibility at MMC.
However, MMC and iMentor didn't end their talks there. They sat down and had tough conversations about what, exactly, they could do to form a strategic partnership. It helped that Klebanov had a previous relationship with iMentor while working at the Morgan Stanley Foundation. She knew the organization had a lot to offer. It was just a matter of finding out where the fit was.
So MMC and iMentor sat down and mapped out how they could form a reciprocal, flexible and holistic partnership — the same principles laid out by Venessa Mendenhall, vice president of strategic partnerships of New York Needs You, and Melissa Kinckle, consulting delivery senior manager and director of corporate social responsibility at Bluewolf, in the session they co-presented with Klebanov and Erica Hamilton, chief program officer of iMentor at Fund Raising Day in New York.
Here is the process Klebanov and Hamilton shared in that session, "Building Strategic Corporate Partnerships."
The first thing iMentor did was craft its value proposition. The development department had been talking to MMC for a while, listening in those early conversations to figure out what it was looking for and how it fit iMentor's needs. It concluded that the partnership had to have the following characteristics to be worth it: