10 Partnership Outreach Tips For Nonprofits

Partnering with a local business can give your nonprofit more visibility and financial stability, among other perks. Keep reading to learn how to create lasting connections with companies in your community and beyond.

1. Take a Multi-Layered Approach

Many nonprofits make the mistake of using just one outreach technique, like email. Instead, personalize your approach based on what you know about the prospect and don’t be afraid to use several methods ranging from phone calls to snail mail.

2. Offer Obvious Signs of Approval From High-Profile Sources

If your nonprofit was written about favorably in a BBC news article last year or rated highly by Charity Navigator, mention those achievements prominently in your reports and on your website. Charity Navigator recently gave the Clinton Foundation the highest possible rating and that distinction is publicized on the charity’s website with a special badge in the footer. When company representatives see good indicators, they’ll be more eager to connect with you.

3. Identify Companies That Share Your Values

You’re more likely to experience positive results if you create partnerships with companies that have values similar or identical to your own. If your nonprofit works hard to reduce the effects of climate change, it’s probably not a good idea to approach a company that was mentioned in the newspaper last week because of its harmful environmental practices.

4. Describe How Your Nonprofit Directly Helps the Local Area

If you’ve secured an all-important meeting with a company leader, it’s in your best interests to highlight your worth. Consider sharing thorough details about how your nonprofit has a direct and positive impact in the local community, not just the world at large. That way, company representatives can easily visualize the good things that could potentially happen via a partnership with you.

Plus, the relationship they have with you ties into their corporate social responsibility plans. Reynolds Enterprises has a special section on its website about social responsibility. It’s a place where nonprofit partnerships are mentioned, including details about notable causes.

5. Reveal How a Company’s Employees Could Pitch In

When employers look for ways to optimize their relationships with nonprofits, they often need guidance about how to let individual employees contribute on top of any organization-wide initiatives. That’s why it’s smart to bring up specific ways people can volunteer at your nonprofit. Make sure to specify types of assistance needed and required time commitments.

6. Be Honest About Your Intentions

There’s so much emphasis put on relationship building during outreach that some people forget to be up front about the business side of things. Don’t waste time showering a company with compliments without ever stating what you need from them. The truth will come out even if you don’t disclose it, and you don’t want companies feeling manipulated because they thought you were being dishonest in your approach.

7. Come Up With Amazing, Relevant Subject Lines

When you rely on email to make contact, strengthen your outreach communication techniques by using subject lines that are personalized, intriguing and unique. Emails are easy to delete, so it’s especially important to make them as interesting as possible, starting with the subject lines.

8. Provide Reciprocal Support

Partnerships come in many forms, and some may begin when a prominent company simply follows your nonprofit on social media. No matter what route your partnership takes, always do what you can to support your supporters, even if the things you do to show appreciation are different than what they give to you.

9. Become Knowledgeable About Respective Industries

Before approaching a business about a potential partnership, do thorough research and determine the factors about your nonprofit that are most attractive to the company’s industry. For example, if your nonprofit’s clean water initiative reduced cases of illnesses caused by contaminated supplies by 20 percent, that accomplishment would probably be of particular interest to businesses in the health care sector.

10. Talk About Mutual Benefits

In most cases, business representatives know nonprofits have motives before even meeting with them, and that’s okay. You shouldn’t hide the fact you’re trying to get something from a business. Take time to also explain how a proposed partnership would help your nonprofit and benefit the company you’re approaching, too. Company representatives should find it’s easier to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question.

This list of tips will help you feel more equipped to start building worthwhile partnerships with businesses. Put them into practice soon, and remember it may take time to perfect your approach.