Businesses and nonprofits launching a partnership may seem counterintuitive to many as these two seem to be polar opposites—businesses have an obligation to gain profit, while charity organizations shun profit for a good cause. Surprisingly though, some of these partnerships work.
Collaborations often end up with a win-win situation for both parties. Businesses can extend operational funds to nonprofits in exchange for a host of positive benefits through the following strategies:
Before choosing a nonprofit organization to partner with, companies need to choose the nonprofit strategically. Make sure that the advocacy or cause reaches the audience or market segment you wish to reach. Depending on the product and service you’re offering, you may want to target your audience based on gender, age, and interests, among other factors.
For instance, if your company sells bottled water, consider working with a nonprofit that works in communities to increase access to potable water. This group will definitely have network partners and connections to whom you want to reach out.
Nonprofits never shy away from exposure. Raising awareness about their advocacy and publicizing their activities are the bread and butter of charity groups. It’s how they get to persuade the public to support them. That being said, working with these groups will give your business an even higher exposure, even to channels and market segments you never thought you need to access.
Before finalizing the agreement, give time to discuss about the how the group can help enhance your brand visibility. Ask how the group typically promotes their partnerships and activities. Perhaps they’ll provide a space for your company banner on their website. Maybe these charities saturate their social media accounts with photos or post daily announcements and updates that explicitly mention your business. These charities likely have their in-house communications specialist who’s capable of sending out press releases to various media outlets.
By collaborating with nonprofits, your brand will have extensive social media and website promotion, as well as expansive coverage in traditional media channels.
Companies, no matter the size, all have a clear understanding of what they want to achieve after several years, as reflected in their mission and vision statements. Businesses also have company values that dictate how they want to operate; and this almost always include giving back to the community.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a buzzword for several years now. Every year, companies conduct planning activities to discuss what has been achieved and what they want to achieve in a specific timeframe, based on this principle.
The same thing happens during nonprofit strategic planning where charity groups decide which fundraising activities they’re going to embark on and the profiles of companies with whom they wish to partner.
Companies are differently structured, but not all have their own CSR departments. Partnering with nonprofits provide businesses with this de facto unit.
Working with a charity organization could impact a business’s credibility and reputation, as it increases the public’s favorable perception of your brand. Clients, company staff, communities, and the general population give value to enterprises that give back. And since not all businesses prioritize CSR in their operations, your business will stand out from your competitors.
With giving back to the community, your audience become more willing to extend support and hopefully feel better inclined to avail of your products and services.
When your business collaborates with nonprofits, you’ll get the opportunity to connect with different types of people with diverse backgrounds. Advocacy groups are known to maintain a wide network of contacts that’ll be beneficial to your business in one way or another. Working with them opens the door to your business finding potential employees, business partners, suppliers, among other possible stakeholders.
Ultimately, if you’re interested in volunteering or a career in nonprofit in the future, you can start by working with them while you’re in the corporate world.
Because of additional connections, you may find that strategically partnering with a nonprofit organization allows businesses to do good without necessarily launching CSR programs. You can partner with an organization that’s pushing for advocacy in line with your business. You can choose how your partnership is set up. For instance, you can divide the tasks and services or tap the group to perform specific grassroots campaign.
If you want to have less involvement and the nonprofit wants to retain autonomy, you can maintain a database of other nonprofits and their specific missions. When someone from the community is in need of assistance that your business or group doesn’t provide, all you have to do is refer the person to the proper charities.
Businesses that choose to share their profits with a charity group will likely receive marketing help from the latter. For instance, if your company produces eco-friendly products, you can partner with an environmental group. In exchange for onetime financial support for the cause, you can instead offer a certain percentage or amount of your income per product sold. This is enough motivation for nonprofits to assist your company in marketing your merchandise, boosting your revenue.
By instinct, humans feel good about helping others. When businesses partner with nonprofits, their employees will be involved in specific activities such as legal clinics, feeding programs, tree-planting activities, and so on. These programs provide your team a chance to bond for a good cause and outside office settings.
When a company is known for exercising social responsibility or has its own way of giving back to the community, the staff will also feel better about working for your business. This may provide them with enough motivation to perform their tasks with increased productivity.
To improve your marketing strategy and exposure, start by participating in discussions and calls to address a specific and relevant issue.
Remember the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ in 2014? The campaign saw Hollywood stars, highly paid athletes, special media influencers, and other famous personalities being challenged and challenging others to support by donating or being doused with a bucketful of cold water. The campaign was meant to gather financial support for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—a degenerative neurological disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord. The campaign was such as success, it was able to raise USD$220 million worldwide. Similar activities were launched annually since then, from 2016 to 2019, but with less success.
On a smaller scale, businesses can use such pressing issues to raise public awareness and ramp up hype in social media. It can be a risky move for small businesses but not at all impossible to do. The key here is to partner with the right organization that has the tools to create an effective campaign and not to set fundraising goals that are too ambitious.
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Working with nonprofits can be a mixed bag, especially for small businesses. The key, however, is to choose the right partner organization with ample experience to help you with your marketing efforts and networking opportunities.
Before engaging in a partnership, businesses will have to establish a method to measure the impact of the partnership in terms of customer engagement, client retention, and sales revenues. It’s likewise important to seek the advice of an attorney, just to find out if there are legal implications to such collaboration.
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