Develop Strategies for Establishing Partnerships

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Now it’s time to think about specific sustainability strategies. The first strategy to consider is establishing partnerships. There are numerous potential benefits to partnering with other organizations. Not only can partnerships enable you to better serve your clientele, they can also assist with outreach, help you save money, and make you seem more attractive to potential donors.

The Who to Partner With template will assist you in the process of thinking about potential partners.

In the current nonprofit environment, partnerships have become a near necessity. More than ever before, donors are looking for organizations that are positioned to offer comprehensive solutions to their clients’ complex problems. To begin the process of finding and engaging potential partners, download the Who to Partner With Template.

Partner with organizations that are compatible and will enhance your services.

In the space provided on your Who to Partner With template, list the nonprofit organizations operating in the community you serve and examine them by answering the following questions. Do they:

  • Offer services that could enhance what you currently provide to your clientele?
  • Have a mission and vision compatible with yours?
  • Stand to benefit from a partnership with you (for instance, would your services be a good supplement to theirs)?

Place a circle around the organizations that meet all three of these criteria. Take some time to contact these organizations and assess their interest in engaging in some level of shared services. Then, put together a meeting with one or more of these organizations to discuss possibilities. The following are a few examples of common shared services:

  • Multi-tenant facilities
  • Group purchasing
  • Accounting services
  • Marketing services
  • Consulting services
  • Human resource services

Appeal to potential partners by outlining key benefits.

In the next section of your Who to Partner With template, tailor a “Case for Partnership” for each the organizations that you circled, outlining the benefits that they stand to gain from partnering with you. Your “Case for Partnership” is not an official document. It essentially consists of a one-page bulleted list of talking points to use when communicating with a potential partner. It is a straight-forward, logical appeal to the benefits of collaborating. You should consider mentioning the following points:

  • Better serving clients through working together
  • Expanded outreach through referrals from your organization
  • Expanded visibility to donors due to association with your organization
  • Possibility of saving money through shared services

Develop a partnership agreement to ensure both sides share a vision of how the partnership will work

Use the Sample Partnership Agreement as a guide in developing your own agreements.

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Work with corporations and businesses to develop strategic alliances.

You should also consider developing strategic alliances with corporations and businesses that work with some of the same clients or have other reasons to be interested in the work you do. Stress the impact you’ve had in the community (from your Case for Support), the compatibility of your organizations, and what you could achieve by working together. Emphasize that it makes good business sense. Talk about the trust and reputational boost they could gain by working with you. Another benefit you could mention is the increased employee morale and retention rates enjoyed by companies that are engaged in their communities.