“This could be the beginning of something beautiful…”
One of the basic challenges that all nonprofits face is resources for funding. Depending on your structure, you may have a steady source of revenue now, but no revenue is always secure for the future. While brainstorming other ventures for bringing in revenue, nonprofits will often entertain the idea of partnering with a for-profit organization.
More often than not, for-profit organizations will approach the nonprofit because of the endless list of benefits a nonprofit partnership can offer. But if a nonprofit is actively seeking a long-term for-profit relationship, the first thing to do would be to seek out like-minded companies that have similar missions.
A wonderful, universal example of this type of match made in partnership heaven is between the Girl Scouts of America and Dove. The Girl Scouts’ entire mission revolves around “building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.” A few years ago, the organization partnered with Dove, who is committed to “inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential by caring for themselves and each other.” [girlscouts.org]
Obviously these organizations have different structures and purposes, but they essentially believe in the same philosophy. Together, they’ve developed a self-esteem program called Uniquely Me! that has impacted Girl Scouts across the nation.
This is the exact type of fruitful, fulfilling partnership that you want to create between your organization and a for-profit one. It’s all about coming together, joining forces, and making a difference beyond your own needs.
So how does each one benefit? Well, obviously the for-profit invests in the nonprofit through general donations or a regular percentage of their own revenue. At the same time, the nonprofit organization offers a level of social consciousness that the for-profit might not inherently possess. In a nutshell, the nonprofit makes the for-profit look good.
It should be noted that these partnerships are not easily won. If a nonprofit and a for-profit an entering into a partnership, they both need to do their homework — taking the time to go through one another’s mission, values, and goals to ensure they align. It’s not enough for these partnerships just to look good on paper. They need to know they can count on one another and that they have similar objectives for the partnership. Otherwise, a crisis can affect both brands with the detrimental effects.
Bottom line: Know what you’re getting into.