Partnering Your Nonprofit Organization With Local Businesses

by J.B. Maverick

2 min read

Collaborating with for-profit businesses is a growing trend that can benefit your nonprofit. Both commercial businesses and nonprofits recognize the possible mutual advantages a collaboration can offer. Some organizations only seek out these partnerships when their nonprofit is failing, but it is a good idea to join forces with local businesses before your organization reaches a critical point.

Potential Benefits of Collaboration

There are a variety of possible benefits for your nonprofit when you partner with for-profit businesses in your area. One of the biggest benefits is a significant increase in exposure. Your nonprofit’s exposure is largely dependent on its marketing or advertising budget which can be limited. For-profit businesses often have a more substantial advertising budget. Collaborating with one of these businesses gives your organization access to the extended reach that comes with a bigger marketing budget. Increased exposure means your nonprofit benefits from being seen by and making connections with new potential donors. At some point, existing donors may cut back on their donations, especially if your nonprofit is struggling or failing to produce expected results. Catching the eye of new donors is critical to your organization’s survival and continued success. Partnering with a company offers your organization “fame,” possibly national and even international recognition, and popularity associated with the brand image of the business with which you’re collaborating. Having your nonprofit’s name and brand next to any successful for-profit’s logo adds an instant boost to your organization’s public image. It also creates an instant connection with the other business’ customers, opening the door for you to engage them as supporters.

Getting Businesses to Collaborate With Your Nonprofit

One of the best and most obvious ways to encourage a local business to collaborate with your nonprofit is with cross promotion. For example, a nonprofit that operates a women’s shelter might offer to publicize a local clothing retailer on its website and in public relations materials in return for the retailer noting its support of your nonprofit in its advertising. Working together like this gives the retailer goodwill and enhances its brand image. Your nonprofit benefits from additional publicity. Another way to draw in a business is to appeal to its desire for positive public relations exposure. For example, your nonprofit might ask the clothing retailer to sponsor your next fundraising event. Suggest the company hold a raffle or auction for different outfits or higher-end individual pieces. Your nonprofit, in return, could offer to have its staffers at the event wear T-shirts imprinted with the retailer’s name and logo. The retailer might also consider donating business-appropriate outfits to your clients who are preparing to go for job interviews in return for your organization broadly publicizing the donation. This scenario benefits the business in terms of its public image by showing its eagerness to help women in need. Your nonprofit clearly benefits by getting clothing donations and by having the cost of the fundraiser at least partially defrayed by the retailer’s sponsorship participation. You can also opt to simply approach a business with the general idea of a partnership, and allow the business owner to suggest the nature or structure of a collaboration. Collaborating with local businesses can potentially offer substantial benefits for your nonprofit. If you make the effort to reach out, you will likely find one or more businesses eager to support your cause.

References & Resources

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