Enhancing and expanding your business through non-profit partnerships

With rapid consumerism deeply immersing the 21st century, consumers can easily dismiss their moral compass as they shop.

This is an indication of consumer culture, which describes a lifestyle whereby people view buying and selling goods as an important determiner of social organization, significance and meaning. This viewpoint plays a significant part in people’s outlook on themselves and society. The result is a hyper-focus on obtaining material goods.

Business owners may also ignore moral obligations in favour of profits as they run their businesses. As intimidating as it can be to change a business model, it is rewarding and beneficial for a company to give back to the community.

An effective way to give back is through partnering with a local non-profit.

Here is a guide for businesses looking to partner with non-profit organizations.

Select a non-profit that aligns with your company’s vision

A company vision is what your business hopes to achieve in the future. It is a long-term business objective, and partnering with a non-profit with similar goals can bring even small businesses closer to their visions.

One example is a Toronto cookware company called Kookn which partnered with the Parkdale Community Food Bank. Together they combat the barriers that cause food insecurity.

After forming your company vision, ask yourself which non-profit addresses the same issue as your business and where you want to cause an impact. This is important because some non-profits are specifically local while others are more wide-scale.

Understand the different types of partnerships

Understanding the different types of corporate-non-profit partnerships is essential because some require more time and effort than others.

A corporate sponsorship requires less effort because it only consists of businesses donating to a non-profit to support one of their events, like a fundraiser. Following their donation, the company name and logo will appear on event shirts, banners and more.

Conversely, an in-kind donation is more hands-on because it involves donating an existing office space or supplies to a non-profit. Therefore, businesses going this route must have extra space or supplies to give.

Lastly, a cause-marketing partnership involves a business donating a portion of its revenue to the non-profit with every sale. Businesses using this method benefit from a good public image.

Get the attention of the chosen non-profit

Getting in touch with a business’ chosen non-profit goes beyond contacting them through their social media accounts. Since most non-profits are locally based, seeking out non-profits in person rather than online may prompt a quicker response.

Contact the non-profit founders and leaders, attend one of their meetings or volunteer at one of their events. Even if a business has few employees, ask if they would like to contribute to a donation made in the company name so that the non-profit will notice.

Discuss the expectations of both parties

Communication regarding boundaries and goals is key when businesses and non-profits form partnerships. It is a chance for both parties to learn more about each other, avoid future obstacles, and learn the best ways to support one another.

The elements of discussion will depend on which partnership you both choose. Some examples include how much revenue the business will donate with each product sale, the requirements of fundraisers and events and who will be the primary communicators for the business and non-profit. This is when companies should clarify what is negotiable and non-negotiable. Communicating these key elements will ensure the partnership is sustainable, long-term and mutually beneficial.

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