Tie-in, Creativity Key Elements of Corporate Partnerships
Whether a corporate partnership is initiated by a nonprofit or a business with a particular charitable affinity, there are some basic things nonprofits should keep in mind.
Stacy Small, former editor-in-chief of Elite Traveler magazine and current owner of Elite Travel International, a luxury travel firm, has insider information on some keys to successful partnerships. Small recently began organizing and running a fundraising campaign called Trips for Cancer to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, raising close to $100,000 last year.
Trips for Cancer, what Small calls an “eBay-style online auction of luxury travel,” offers a variety of donated trips that visitors can bid on, with all of the proceeds going to BCRF. Small also has created Trips for Pink cruises, where for each cabin booked she donates $200 to BCRF.
“My idea was that I really wanted to find a way to sort of combine what I do for a living, which is sell luxury travel, and come up with a way to tie that into raising some money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” she says.
Small, whose mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, says certainly a key to any successful corporate/nonprofit partnership is a personal tie to the organization’s mission. It’s also important for both nonprofits and for-profits to understand the differences in how they operate, from a business perspective.
“Nonprofits are usually pretty lean and mean, so the staff are always multitasking and doing a number of jobs, where corporations are kind of used to having things a little bit more to the point. So I think you have to mesh the cultures a little bit, and from the business side I had to be a little patient and sort of be willing to work with them, knowing that everyone there was working so hard and if I asked for something I might not get the answer that day, but they’re certainly appreciative of my help and support.”
Small says corporations will react more positively to partnership-seeking nonprofits that come to them with a creative idea that not only raises money for the nonprofit but also has built-in benefits for the corporation.
“One of the reasons I got a lot of press on my campaign and a lot of attention to it is that it was something really unique. We came up with a program and a way to raise money that hadn’t been done before. That’s really key,” she says.
For Small, the benefit was increased exposure for her business and an ability to reach out and establish contact with high-level people she wouldn’t have met otherwise who could eventually become potential clients for her firm.
For more information, visit the Trips for Cancer Web site, http://elitetravelinternational.com/tripsforcancer2007.html