Statistically speaking, the majority of the great strategic partnerships we see on a daily basis involve two or more for-profit brands. These companies collaborate to develop a new product or service leveraging key pieces from each brand, take that new asset and provide it to their audiences, in turn creating revenue on both sides. When a non-profit engages in a strategic partnership, their goals and outcomes are usually quite different from the for-profit entities partnering together, but they are equally as impactful. The following are the top 5 ways a strategic partner can help a non-profit organization:
1. Reduce budget and costs
Like any company or organization, a non-profit has costs associated with the events it runs or services it provides. But unlike a brand that sells a product, non-profit organizations oftentimes need to find alternate ways to cover these costs that may include rental spaces, travel, staffing, office equipment, etc. Engaging in a strategic partnership provides a unique opportunity for a non-profit organization to bring in some funds or in-kind contributions that may help reduce the daily costs of running an organization. For example, partnering with a department store like Staples could result in in-kind contributions of office supplies that would have otherwise cost the non-profit money to acquire.
2. Strengthen pre-existing ties to the community
A non-profit organization that caters to a local community could benefit from a strategic partner whose values align with grassroots engagement. Having the power of a strong brand to help back an organization’s efforts could increase visibility within the community, interactivity with potential donors, and ultimately lead to more funds raised and value created.
3. Create revenue streams other than donations
Typically, non-profit organizations seek funds through a traditional donation model. With the implementation of strategic partnerships, new revenue-generating programs can be created, in-kind contributions to the organization received, and overall value added. Bringing strategic partners into a non-profit organization’s team can lead to innovative ideas including thoughtful activations, co-branded advertising, social media takeovers, contesting, sales, and more.
4. Develop creative campaigns
One of the benefits in any strategic partnership is the sharing of skills and the ability to leverage opportunities a party would not otherwise have access to. When a non-profit partners with a brand who has skills in creating insightful marketing campaigns, those skills can be leveraged to reach a much larger audience with greater success.
5. Provide industry knowledge and professional development
Partnering with another brand means an organization gains access to the brand’s network of partners and influencers in their industry (which should be the same as or related to that of the non-profit). A strategic partner not only provides a non-profit with the creation of value, but with the insights and knowledge required for professional development. This is, perhaps, more important than the activations and campaigns. When a brand can come in to an organization as a partner and provide training for the development of staff and volunteers, the rest comes easier.
BONUS: How can a non-profit organization help your brand through a strategic partnership? Aligning yourself with a charity, cause or other non-profit organization can strengthen your brand’s image as a socially responsible property. A partnership with a non-profit can also allow you to leverage their audience to increase your own, give you the tools to broaden your services, increase brand loyalty within customers who know and appreciate the work of the non-profit, and increase your visibility through earned media.