Five must do’s when partnering with business – A NFP’s guide to doing partnerships well
2 September 2020 at 7:00 am
Finding new and sustainable revenue streams is a challenge for all not for profits. Partnering with business offers the opportunity to do this, but how do you do it well? Beyond Bank’s Shane Farley offers five short tips to success.
Many not-for-profit (NFP) organisations have traditionally focused on mass fundraising and high value donors to build a strong revenue base. Whilst this approach is successful for many, it often comes at the expense of making the most of the rising desire of the business world to partner with community organisations.
That might be true, you may say, but is the opportunity really that big anyway? Well, a quick glance at the 2019 Giving Large Report, authored by Strive Philanthropy, paints a promising outlook for NFP’s that are seeking to partner with corporates. It found that the top 50 companies who disclose their giving in Australia gave a combined $945 million in 2018 alone. This figure was representative of only corporate giving and did not reflect commercial sponsorship arrangements with the community sector which is an area also experiencing significant growth.
All of this would indicate that today’s corporate leaders are increasingly aligned with a society that expects business to contribute strongly to the communities they serve. We are seeing a rise in socially conscious organisations, like those who are part of the B Corp movement, who are paying closer attention to how they achieve a profitable enterprise whilst delivering social and environmental good. A growing body of evidence also suggests that organisations that have well-developed approaches to corporate social responsibility often outperform those that do not, which is added incentive for businesses who choose to take this path.
But why is it that a business might partner with an NFP? Some business leaders say it is because there is an ethical obligation to give back to the community, whilst others argue that there are many other benefits on offer including boosting the employer brand and attracting a greater talent pool into the workforce.
A quick glance at the difference in goals between the SME sector and large businesses highlights that SMEs often support the local community because their owners have a connection to the cause or people involved whilst large businesses are often driven by other factors such as creating a social license to operate and engaging their workforce which can lead to improved business outcomes.
All of this is powerful for the NFP sector to consider when thinking about how to engage and partner with business. What I often notice in my role at Beyond Bank is that our best NFP partners all share similar traits in the way in which they engage with us.
There are five key things they all do:
- They take the time to get to know our business and what we might want to achieve from a partnership. Then they tailor a partnership offering to suit.
- They have a clear understanding of the value they bring, and they know how to position this effectively.
- They highlight quite clearly the social and environmental good that will come from the partnership and they tell us quite clearly how it will be achieved.
- They service the relationship extremely well and always deliver on their commitments.
- They constantly communicate with us and are always looking for ways to improve the partnership.
Partners like CanTeen Australia, Autism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT), and Starick Services in WA are just some of the many partners we have that do these things exceptionally well. That is why we have partnered with them for such a long period of time.
I began by saying that NFP’s would be well served to look at other revenue streams beyond the traditional model. That still holds true for me but the fantastic thing about corporate partnership is that they can often drive greater success in your individual and donor fundraising programs. For example, our staff and 245,000 customers at Beyond Bank frequently get the opportunity to engage deeply with our NFP partners and an army of new individual donors, advocates and supporters are created.
Beyond Bank has over 4,000 community partnerships in place across Australia and like many organisations around the nation, we are only seeking to grow our contribution in the future. It is an exciting time and allows us to use the power of business as a force for good. If you would like to talk about partnering with us please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Beyond Bank Australia
Beyond Bank has over 245,000 customers, $6 billion in assets under management and more than 40 branches in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT and Victoria (through its merger with Nexus Mutual).
As one of Australia’s largest customer-owned banks, Beyond Bank partners with more than 4,000 community organisations around the nation and was the first bank in Australia to achieve B Corp certification, a global movement of companies and organisations that use business as a force for good.
For more information please visit www.beyondbank.com.au