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Maintaining Successful Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships

Nonprofits and businesses might operate with different goals and objectives, however, joining forces helps both parties maximize growth and gain new learnings.

While the goal of a nonprofit is to improve the well-being of members in their local community, businesses, which are often seen as being on the other side of the equation, can partner with nonprofits for mutual benefit. As a result of these partnerships, fundraising events become more effective, the pool of volunteers grows, and companies begin to see the direct impact of their social good contributions.

These nonprofit-corporate partnerships connect those who need help (the nonprofits) with those looking to help (the businesses). It isn’t necessary to go through a formal approval and signing process to establish a partnership. Rather, a company will join forces with a nonprofit they find value in to advance a nonprofit’s mission—improving the quality of life for individuals in their communities. 

Establishing a partnership is just one piece of the puzzle. In order to achieve long-term success and mutual gain, the partnership must be maintained over time. 


Why should nonprofits and businesses partner together?

Go beyond stating your commitment to change

Several businesses claim that they want to make a difference in the world. They know that being more socially responsible is an effective way to improve their reputation and positively shape the way their stakeholders perceive their brand.

However, it’s not enough to say that you want to do something. In order to assure people of your company’s dedication, you need to take action.

One way for businesses to act on their commitment to change is to partner with a nonprofit. When stakeholders see that your organization is regularly supporting a nonprofit, they will know that you’re truly dedicated to helping change the world.


Receive help from motivated individuals

On the other end, partnering with a business gives nonprofits instant access to a large pool of employees who can:

  • Facilitate donations
  • Provide volunteer assistance
  • Create peer-to-peer fundraisers
  • Organize events (employee-led events on behalf of your cause)

Employees at a for-profit company are often passionate, motivated, and enthusiastic individuals looking to lend their support to causes in need. 

As companies begin to introduce volunteer programs that will improve work-life balance, employees will become empowered to connect with a nonprofit that aligns with their values and strive to be the best version of themselves through purpose-led work.


 Learn from each other

Both parties learn from one another in nonprofit-corporate partnerships. For example, on the business side, employees get to learn a lot about the nonprofit’s structure, history, personnel, and previous fundraising efforts. 

Typically, employees will have a basic understanding of the nonprofit’s mission and values from glancing at its website. However, when they regularly volunteer or financially contribute to a nonprofit, they gain more insight and develop a deeper appreciation of the nonprofit’s work.  

In turn, nonprofits can better understand the factors that motivate members of their local community (through employee volunteers) to get involved and give back. For instance, if your nonprofit uncovers that one of the biggest reasons corporate employees want to volunteer is to lend a helping hand beyond donating, a nonprofit might increase efforts to host more events that need the help of volunteers to run. 


How to maintain successful nonprofit-corporate partnerships

Once you’ve found the right partner(s), here are some tips that will help you maintain the partnership and set everyone up for long-term success: 

Set clear expectations

If you want to have a successful nonprofit-corporate relationship, make sure everyone is on the same page right from the start when it comes to expectations. Among the expectations you should discuss are:

  1. General number of volunteer hours corporate employees should provide (per quarter)
  2. General number of corporate employees assisting the nonprofit (per quarter)
  3. When and how often to communicate
  4. Guidelines corporate employees should follow when they fundraise or organize an event

Keep regular communication

Clear, consistent communication is essential for creating and maintaining an effective nonprofit-corporate partnership. In the absence of regular check-ins, it is difficult to determine whether expectations are being met or if both parties are progressing toward their goals. 

To ensure employees from the business and nonprofit sides are staying in touch frequently, it’s helpful to schedule monthly meetings. This gives everyone a chance to share their progress, discuss any problems that have occurred during the past month, and break down their plans for the coming month.

Ongoing communication between meetings is beneficial, too. Using a tool (such as Slack or Outlook) that allows for seamless chatting back and forth between members of the nonprofit and company ensures everyone is on track to achieve their goals. 

Ideas being written down on a clear board

Suggest new ideas

Collaboration is key to sharing knowledge freely, learning from one another, and jointly thinking of innovative ideas to help both parties grow. 

If employees have creative ideas for a fundraising event, they should feel free to share them with the nonprofit. Brainstorming can help a nonprofit think of new ideas they might have never thought of themselves. Event attendance and total donations could reap impressive results when those creative ideas are put into action. 

Members of a nonprofit may also be able to make helpful suggestions when it comes to improving the way a company showcases its volunteer work across social media or how they can better promote its nonprofit partnerships on its website. 


Lend support 

Both parties already have a lot on their plates with their day-to-day duties and responsibilities; however, both nonprofits and businesses should do what they can to help one another out. 

This increased support generates better results than when everyone is working alone—and aren’t positive results what you’re looking for by creating a nonprofit-corporate relationship in the first place?

In the case that a business wants to organize and manage an event to raise money for a different charitable cause, they could always ask their nonprofit partner what tactics would maximize attendance. After all, nonprofits are the fundraising and event planning experts! 

In addition to funding and volunteering for nonprofits, companies might be using specific (and affordable) software or applying strategic planning techniques to meet quarterly goals. Nonprofits could learn from this and adopt these tactics to help with their business.


Show appreciation

Finally, everyone involved in the nonprofit-corporate partnership must show appreciation for one another and their contributions, no matter how big or small they might be.

Even if a business is only able to gather a few employees to participate in a fundraiser or a volunteer opportunity, that’s better than no turnout at all. When the event is over, a representative from the nonprofit should send a thank-you message to let the company know they appreciate the employees’ help and thank them for their time.

On the flip side, a business should also express appreciation when they see positive results from the partnership. For example, if they notice an increase in employee engagement, which is common among employees who volunteer regularly, they should thank the nonprofit for allowing them to contribute. 

Maintaining nonprofit-corporate partnerships with Kambeo

Kambeo is a robust platform connecting businesses and nonprofits. Every business can discover and contribute to the causes in their communities—acting on their corporate social responsibility statements. Additionally, nonprofits can receive assistance from a talented pool of corporate employees to help them fulfill their mission.

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