Creating Real Value With Corporate and Other Large Nonprofit Partners
Organization Collaboration Ensures Big Wins for All
If there’s any industry that relies on helping hands and team work, it’s the nonprofit sector. We realize corporate and other large nonprofit partners are pillars to our success and strive to ensure they are truly recognized as part of our team. At Rise Against Hunger, we are committed to ending world hunger by 2030—a mission that would be impossible to achieve alone. That’s why we believe in the power of bringing people together to spark change—and that means finding partner organizations that truly believe in our mission, not just the idea of corporate social responsibility. Through my career experience in marketing, business development and now, the nonprofit industry, I’ve learned how fostering successful relationships depends on collaboration and the value each partner receives.
First and foremost, you must make sure everyone coming together shares common goals and interests. Volunteers and donors love to be a part of something greater. We’ve found our message of ending hunger in our lifetime is far more powerful when we team up with organizations that share our vision and that have their own network or donors, resources and supporters. Not only does our message go broader and deeper, but we can often make a bigger impact—touching more lives, more quickly—by leveraging the expertise and expanded opportunities that inherently come with partnerships.
When partnering with either a corporation, association, faith community, university or other nonprofit, communication is crucial. As a nonprofit, when we openly communicate with our partners to share resources, expertise, stats, education and knowledge of our cause, we greatly expand our sphere of influence and the reach of our message. When partners share our passion and are willing to use their own outlets to talk about our joint event, campaign or opportunity, we can reach the ears and eyes of thousands, even millions, more people than we ever could alone.
Partnerships in Action
Recently, Rise Against Hunger had the opportunity to bring together two partners from opposite business sectors during our first-ever South by Southwest® (SXSW®) appearance. By leveraging this experience alongside our partners, Pfizer and Global Volunteers, we were able to combine our efforts in the movement to end world hunger.
When we heard Pfizer—one of our corporate partners who has committed to package one million Rise Against Hunger meals in 2018 by hundreds of employees in multiple locations—planned to exhibit at SXSW®, our team identified an opportunity to collaborate. We worked quickly to find the best ways to partner for the event, including a collaborative social campaign and the use of Pfizer branding in promotional materials, tapping into their brand strength to build awareness with the SXSW audience. Stationed side-by-side on the trade show floor over the course of four days, Pfizer and Rise Against Hunger engaged hundreds of SXSW® attendees to package meals for vulnerable individuals and families around the world. Sponsoring meals at SXSW® allowed Pfizer to expand on the meal packaging they already do with employee volunteers, increasing their overall impact and growing their social responsibility initiative. Together, we reinforced Pfizer’s focused support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
We also introduced a new partner, Global Volunteers, a human and economic development organization that engages short-term volunteers on long-term community projects worldwide by offering international volunteer trips year-round. To continue building upon our global hunger focus, we teamed up with Global Volunteers to giveaway a service trip to a SXSW attendee who took our pledge to help end hunger by the year 2030. The service trip allows the winner to volunteer with a nutrition program in Tanzania that is similar to programs we support around the world. Global Volunteers was enthusiastic about collaborating with Rise Against Hunger to use the SXSW® platform as a way grow the movement to end hunger and increase the reach of our shared message and missions related to international development.
Making an Impact
A few years ago, Rise Against Hunger’s chief impact officer and native of Kenya, Edna Ogwangi, introduced an African proverb to our organization that perfectly illustrates our approach:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
By the time the last box was packed and stacked at SXSW®, more than 11,016 meals had been prepared for distribution—meals that will feed 105 children for one year through our school feeding programs. We also introduced more than 500 people to our volunteer program and the personal impact they can create for others through a small act.
We know that we cannot end hunger and poverty around the world without creating a real, dynamic movement of engaged volunteers, donors, influencers and supporters. One nonprofit or one corporation cannot do it alone. Our combined voices and impact are expanded exponentially when we work together.
Jolynn Berk, Rise Against Hunger director of channel development, has more than 25 years of experience as a strategic marketing consultant to corporate and nonprofit brand managers. Born and raised in the heartland, she has a passion for building relationships, the hungry around the world, big blue skies, wheat fields and business jets.