A question we get asked regularly at Social Good HQ by the business community is ‘What is the best way for us to create a long-term partnership with a not-for-profit organisation?’
The simple answer is to connect with an organisation that aligns with your brand and purpose, and then start building a relationship.
The longer version is that even when you have made the decision to support a not-for-profit and create a partnership, neither you nor the organisation you wish to support will necessarily know the best way to go about it.
The likelihood is that you will just default to handing over a cheque and then both parties will head off into the sunset.
So what can you do to make your not-for-profit partnership work?
First, ask yourself if your company vision, mission and goals align with that of the not-for-profit.
Successful partnerships combine business and philanthropic goals. Tie your efforts back to your company objectives.
Agree purposeful impact beyond fundraising – partnerships are about so much more than money. Consider offering differing levels of support so that you can have the biggest impact and truly make a difference.
A great example of this is Microsoft, who take advantage of their employees’ tech skills. They invite leaders of not-for-profit organisations to discuss their tech problems, and Microsoft has pledged to fix them. The company also encourages engineers to teach high school computer classes and matches employee volunteer hours with financial donations.
Decide what you want the partnership to look like – there are a huge number of ways you can work together.
- donate money on the back of sales of your product
- volunteer your employees’ time
- up-skill a not-for-profit in your area of expertise
- donate equipment
- employee fundraising matching
- become an ambassador and spread the word about the impact of their work
- hold an annual fundraising event
- sign up for payroll giving
- throw an office party and encourage everyone to contribute, then match employee contributions
Having worked with more than 100 not-for-profit organisations, we know that if they had a choice between a one-off donation and regular support, they would choose the latter every time!
In 2018 many charities are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain enough funding to survive, and covering their core overhead costs is practically impossible. They rely on people just like you to support them with your money, time and education.
When a partnership is done correctly, it will pay dividends.
What do you need to watch out for?
Not-for-profits are vital organisations who support those most in need, but businesses ultimately have an obligation to generate profit. That obligation is legal for public companies and no less pursued by private companies, so it’s critical to ensure charitable partnerships can be measured. (What is the ROI of your social good activity)
Transparency is also critical, and it pays to be as clear as possible with customers about how their purchases will benefit a not-for-profit – do your best to not make commitments you cannot keep.
Finally, it’s critical to seek professional legal guidance when creating a charitable partnership to ensure your business understands and is following the law.
Creating charitable partnerships is good for your business and allows not-for-profits to reap the benefits of the fundraising and volunteering efforts of your employees: it’s really a win–win.
If you would like help to create a flourishing partnership, please do get in touch at email@example.com