How a Corporate Partnership Can Help Your Charity Thrive
In a 2018 survey by RetailMeNot, 66% of U.S. internet users expressed the belief that brands should take a public stance on important social values. This is no surprise. As noted by Forbes, today’s consumers are more socially conscious and ethically focused than ever.
There was a time when no one thought much of whether or not businesses were socially responsible, but those days are far behind us. In the modern era, businesses can no longer operate solely for profit. Instead, they must also consider the greater good.
For nonprofits, this is excellent news. It means more large organizations are turning their attention toward corporate social responsibility (CSR). And that, in turn, means you have more opportunities than ever to further your cause by leveraging corporate resources.
Note that a corporate partnership goes one step further than a donation. Any business that partners with a nonprofit is committing to taking an active role in that nonprofit’s mission. It has committed to using its own resources to help that nonprofit raise funds, host events and more.
And therein lies the value of a corporate partnership.
Why Your Nonprofit Should Seek a Corporate Partnership
By partnering with the right corporation, you gain access to resources that might otherwise be beyond your reach. In most cases, these resources will be far more extensive than your own. In my experience, most nonprofit organizations don’t have the budget for a massive marketing department, a sales team or high-end enterprise software.
You can leverage corporate tools to create new efficiencies within your nonprofit, allowing your volunteers and staff to achieve more in less time. You can tap into corporate marketing and public relations to significantly increase your nonprofit’s reach and visibility. Particularly if you’re working with an established brand, this can consequently attract not only more donors and volunteers, but also put you in touch with other prospective partners.
Moreover, your corporate partner’s own employee base can act as potential donors and volunteers, particularly if your partner uses a Volunteer Time Off program. This, in turn, can bring in a ton of long-term staff. And these aren’t just people who are there to put in a few volunteer hours for a resume.
The people brought in through this program are likely to be highly dedicated to your cause. Not only are they doing meaningful work, but they’re being paid by their organization to do so. There’s a lot of value in that sort of dedication, particularly given how high volunteer turnover can be.
Finding the Right Corporate Partner for Your Nonprofit
Before we talk about how you can track down the right corporate partner, I should first add one important note about CSR. Working with charitable organizations is only a small part of it. CSR is a multifaceted strategy that includes reducing one’s environmental impact, ethically sourcing products and pushing for greater representation and diversity in the workplace.
Believe it or not, this actually makes your position stronger. As a nonprofit, you can potentially bring a unique perspective to the table in that regard. Based on your experience in the nonprofit sector, you can offer your for-profit partner advice on being greener, more sustainable and more ethical.
Of course, that’s all assuming you partner with the right corporation. There are a few steps involved in doing so.
Figure Out What Type of Partnership You Want
There are many ways beyond donations that a corporation might contribute to a nonprofit’s cause. Are you looking for volunteering and skill-sharing opportunities? Do you want to plan and host joint fundraising events? Do you want to leverage your partner’s marketing resources?
Do Your Homework
Not every corporation is going to be a good fit for your nonprofit. Ideally, you want to seek a business that not only has a presence in your local community, but also operates in an industry that’s compatible with your cause. Pay attention to their resources, skills, values and mission.
A medical technology firm, for instance, would make a great partner for a charity dedicated to muscular dystrophy, less so for a disaster relief fund.
Prepare an Elevator Pitch
To engage a prospective partner, it’s important that you’re able to communicate, in as few words as possible, your mission, your cause and what both organizations stand to gain from a partnership. Focus primarily on what your partner could gain from working with you. This could include making positive changes in the community, giving employees valuable and fulfilling volunteer experience or simply promoting a more positive brand image.
Nonprofit and For-Profit Are Not Incompatible
CSR represents a powerful, tangible opportunity for your nonprofit. By understanding what they involve and how to initiate them, you can greatly further your cause. Moreover, you can cultivate your organization and allow it to thrive in ways that might otherwise have been impossible.