Have you ever stopped to consider how creating a long-lasting partnership with a nonprofit organisation can benefit your business and the community you live in as well? Still, a long-term and purposeful partnership cannot be achieved by simply signing a check. If you seek to build and maintain a strong business relationship with one or more nonprofit organisations, you absolutely must invest on a personal level.
And although financial support like signing a check may be important to the success of a nonprofit, it alone cannot and will not ensure that you are able to create a solid relationship that benefits both your company and your community.
Here are 5 great strategies that will help you lay the foundation for a sustainable and successful partnership:
1. Everybody tells you to think big. Still, when you are trying to forge a long-lasting partnership with a nonprofit organisation you should do exactly the opposite, i.e. think small. To avoid overreaching, you should probably set your aims on finding an organisation located in your immediate surroundings. And although you may not be able to register the same impact on a global level like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, remember that even small enterprises with 10 or 20 employees for example are able to make a big change in local communities. Start by collaborating with local organisations that aim to tackle some pressing issues and improve specific aspects in the local community. Lend a helping hand to organizations within your community and remember to celebrate hometown wins with both your employees and the community.
Find out in which domain your company is prepared and able to make a change. Some choose education, others the environment, or any other sector in which the community may need your help. For example, if you were to choose education, you could provide a couple of scholarships by partnering with a nonprofit, helping the at-risk youth become leaders of their generation.
2. Be the first to make contact. I cannot stress it enough how important it is to take the initiative to reach out to nonprofit organisations. The only way you will be able to partner up with leaders of your community is by being a part of the community. This is the best way of finding nonprofits that have the same mission, goals and passion as your employees. If you cannot find the time to attend these events, you could ask one of your employees to represent the company.
3. Although you may not have the necessary resources to financially invest in your community, you should still do your best and apply the Warren Buffett principle of investing, “buy what you know”. Bear in mind that the community environment in which you will be investing quite a lot of your time is here to say. Thus, provide members of the community with the necessary tools, set of skills and knowledge so that they are able to improve it as much as possible. You can do this by analyzing the current needs of the community while also figuring out what your company has to offer. For example, you could offer some of your unique products and services as donations, whenever possible.
By partnering up with nonprofits in your sphere of influence, you are able to expand your brand by association. In turn, this provides your company with some much needed exposure and traction to all types of audiences.
4. Turn your company into a stage for change. After identifying the pressing issues of your community and the people that are focused on solving them, you could and should provide them with a stage on which changes can occur. This stage needs to act like a platform where change agents should perform and inspire members of your community. Regardless of the size of your company, your ability to solve pressing matters is perceived as invaluable and the community will thank you for it.
5.Last but not least, ask others to become volunteers. The best sense of commitment is derived not from observation, but rather from participation. Encourage all your employees, team members, friends and family and acquaintances to spend as much time as they can spare helping with some of the community’s problems by letting them know they make a difference and that they are literally changing lives.
Mahatma Gandhi said it best: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.