Creating corporate partnerships can help a nonprofit recruit volunteer talent, increase fundraising, and create a larger footprint in their community.

Developing a strategy to connect with, and drive opportunity from corporate partnerships is an important process for nonprofits. Many nonprofits, large and small, do not know where to start when it comes to creating corporate partnership opportunities in their community. The truth is, corporate partnerships do not just benefit the nonprofit wanting to initiate them. Partnerships also offer corporations with value.

According to a study, performed by Cone Communications, 90% of consumers would switch brands that support a cause that they believe in. The same study also found that 67% of employees prefer working for corporations that are socially responsible. How a nonprofit communicates this value can mean the difference between a successful partnership and an opportunity that gets left on the table for both parties (the nonprofit and the corporation).

If a nonprofit wants to connect with a potential corporate partner and sell them on the benefits of a strategic partnership there are a few value-adds to create messaging around that can help the nonprofit clearly communicate gains. Here are 4.

Focus on Impact

Every nonprofit and corporation want to make a positive impact in the community that they serve. Positive community engagement can lead to increased volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and goal-attainment for a nonprofit and positive brand recognition for a corporation. Creating a strategic partnership that allows a corporation to provide value to a nonprofit in exchange for campaign recognition and public relations is a win-win. The best way for a nonprofit to communicate their organizations impact is by collecting, analyzing, and recording their impact metrics. Corporations love data, and want to know how many people a nonprofit is reaching, what impact they are making, and how their contributions could impact a nonprofit’s mission in the future.


Promote Talent Development

The most valuable asset to corporations is their employees. Professional development and engagement are crucial to businesses in all industry. Nonprofits have an opportunity to sell corporations on the value and talent development that volunteerism can provide their organization. A recent survey, conducted by Gallup, found that only 32.6% of American employees are engaged in their work. Another survey, conducted by Skillsoft, found that 66% of employees expect ongoing training to make them better at their job. Most nonprofits have volunteer opportunities that can provide corporate employees with skill development training, creating value for corporate partners. Even if a nonprofit doesn’t have an exact match for a specific corporate employee the ability to work with others is an important skill to practice.

Don’t Just Focus on Monetary Gifts

A lot of nonprofits make the mistake of going into the partnership conversation with fundraising on their mind. Corporate partnerships do offer opportunities to enhance fundraising capabilities but, in most cases, it shouldn’t be the first topic discussed. Instead, a nonprofit should focus on getting to know the potential corporate partner and discussing other advantages a partnership could bring to both organizations. Doing so will impress a potential corporate partner because they are most likely use to getting pitches for financial resources often. Nonprofits can focus the initial conversation on community engagement, volunteerism, and other value propositions and lead up to financial value in the future.

Be a Great Partner

Long-term value often outweighs short-term gains. Nonprofits have the opportunity to be a good partner to corporations, the same way corporations have the opportunity to be a good partner to nonprofits. Nonprofits should focus on developing long-term relationships with partners and providing them and the community with as much value as possible.


Creating a strategic approach to corporate partnerships is an important step for all nonprofits. Nonprofits have as much value to provide corporations as corporations have to provide nonprofits. During the partnership conversation nonprofits should focus on providing impact metrics, promoting talent development, discussing their goals, and value-adds. After a partnership is created, nonprofits need to be the best partner they can be to turn short-term gains into long-term value.

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