Agency3 Communications

Ten Keys to Planning Business/Non-Profit Partnerships
Cause-related marketing not only boosts business, it makes companies feel good too.

Towards the end of the 20th century, corporate executives began to understand that being the best required more than just producing great products and providing expert services. It meant being involved in the community. These key decision-makers worked with community leaders to boost company profits, increase social awareness, and strengthen society.

For example, in 1983 American Express donated proceeds from each card transaction to the renovation of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

As a result of this action, card usage increased 28 percent over the previous year, and the Statue of Liberty Foundation received $1.7 million towards its renovation.

Today’s business leaders continue this time-honored tradition with a new zest. They strategically plan and manage partnerships with non-profit organizations that not only help their companies reach new markets and build positive reputations, but also help social agencies become more self-sufficient and address community interests.

Here are ten tips for creating a cause-related partnership for your company:

  1. Integrate community involvement into your company’s core culture. Commitment to social interest builds consumer confidence and boosts employee morale.
  2. Find a good fit. Survey employees and customers about what causes are important to them. Achieve greater loyalty and bolster your company’s image by selecting a cause that constituents believe in.
  3. Develop key objectives. Do you want to expand opportunities and increase revenue? Make a determination and be specific.
  4. Identify potential partners. Look at those organizations that have the most potential to enhance business opportunities. The cause you choose should make sense to constituents without being self-serving.
  5. Enlist the help of an intermediary. Find a liaison to help you build the partnership. Select a professional who can encourage and direct communication between organizations and help structure effective exchanges.
  6. Make the contact. Talk with potential partners about your business objectives and ask them to describe their needs. Determine whether there is compatibility and chemistry.
  7. Develop a shared vision. Work collaboratively to craft a vision, mission and goals statements. Refer to them often.
  8. Articulate clear roles, responsibilities and policy guidelines. Determine who will be responsible for each part of the project. Include time-frames and methods for conflict resolution.
  9. Keep in touch. Communication is key to successful collaboration.
  10. Assess outcomes. Measure whether the partnership accomplished its goals and objectives. Decide whether you want to continue the collaboration or seek new alliances.

Most importantly, have fun! Effective partnerships provide long-lasting rewards. They are great tools for business growth and social enrichment. When designed purposefully, strategic alliances help businesses reach new markets and boost their bottom lines.

Bonnie Wetzel
The Wetzel Group
Where Non-Profits and Business Create Great Things
85 East Pointe
Fairport, NY 14450