Choosing the right corporate partners enables your nonprofit to extend its reach while controlling its costs. Besides funding, corporate partners provide value in many other ways:
- Event sponsorship (defraying some or all costs of an event)
- Operational resources (computers, other relevant materials)
- Expert volunteers (legal staff and other high-value personnel)
- Co-branding, marketing, and advertising to reach more people
Businesses of all sizes seek out nonprofit collaboration. The larger a business, the more likely its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments require expertise from an organization like yours.
In the housing industry, prospective partners are even more active. Nonprofit initiatives help them to meet Community Reinvestment Act obligations. New corporate-nonprofit initiatives are launched every week!
Some consultancies even specialize in “match-making” for these partnerships. What lessons do these engagements offer? All too often, a nonprofit isn’t prepared for a corporate partnership even if it attracts one.
Odds are you do not have the budget for a seven-figure consultant to facilitate a partnership. You work hard to identify and attract funders—and it doesn’t make sense to think you “aren’t ready.”
Yet, without the right resources in place on your side…
Those hard-won partnerships will fall apart or never get off the ground.
HomeFree-USA has built partnerships with top banks and other corporate partners from coast to coast since 1994. We know what they look for—and what they need from you to collaborate effectively.
As with all things marketing, it starts by knowing your audience.
What’s “in it for them” in a nonprofit-corporate partnership?
Consumers want businesses to reflect their values. This is especially true of Millennials and up-and-coming Generation Z. It also has a profound effect on banks, where there is often already a trust deficit.
To present their best face to the world, corporations look to Corporate Social Responsibility—having a meaningful social impact. But they often lack CSR-qualified board members to lead these initiatives.
This opens the door to mutually beneficial nonprofit-corporate relationships.
Don’t shy away from the opportunities corporate partners offer
In the nonprofit sector, many leaders avoid conversations with corporate partners. They worry a partnership means sacrificing independence and compromising their integrity.
Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in housing!
Your unique insight enables a corporate partner to function in the nonprofit arena and change people’s lives for the better. Far from “selling out,” you can expand your impact.
But you must be prepared long before you schedule time with a decision-maker. Your message is all they have to base a decision on. And they are always thinking strategically.
Seven resources to have in place before you reach out
- Clarity about your impact
How many people have your initiatives reached? What measurable outcomes can you highlight as a direct result of your efforts? Who benefits and how?
- A compelling value proposition
What’s in it for your corporate partner? How can you help them understand and see your mission in relationship to their own long-term strategic goals?
- A designated partnership leader
Who will lead the interface between your organization and a corporate partner? (Hint: The founder or president is not always the best choice.)
- Resources for that person to use
Can you distribute the right resources for the partnership leader to succeed—for example, volunteer hours to use and basic processes to follow?
- An executive-level slide deck
Have you prepared an executive-level summary of your recent initiatives and their impact? Do you have at least one person enthusiastic about speaking?
- Basic content marketing
Does your website have a public-facing blog with regular updates that highlight your community impact? Are events and awards easy to find?
- A partnership concept
Do you have a concept for a partnership that helps address your weaknesses while playing to your partner’s strengths?
- Clarity about your impact
Put these pieces together in an “elevator pitch” (which will include the following):
- Who are you/
- What do you do?
- For whom?
- What’s your recent impact—with metrics?
- What’s your idea for a corporate partnership?
Put your assets to work at the Reaching Millions Conference
Once your resources are in place, you’re ready to meet your next corporate partner. Where to find them? The key: be “in the room where it happens.”
HomeFree-USA’s Reaching Millions Leadership and Business Development Conference unites nonprofits and financial services leaders under one roof to meet, share best practices, and magnify their impact.
You’ll also learn marketing strategies that work for organizations like yours.
It is one of the most influential events of the year—and you’re invited.
[Register for Reaching Millions]
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