Nonprofit Marketing: Forming Local Partnerships To Achieve More

All organizations, nonprofits in particular, stand to benefit from building strong partnerships. No matter how successful a nonprofit is, there will always be at least one area of the organization that could use more support. 

 Whether it's gaining access to a larger or different community, or borrowing resources you couldn't otherwise afford, there's much to gain from collaborating with local organizations. So, how should you go about making these vital partnerships? Read on to find out.

Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr 

Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr 

Whether you're promoting a nonprofit event, initiating a new awareness campaign or simply hoping to reach new communities, here are some tips for how to work with local organizations to achieve more:

1. Look for organizations that focus on the community

Libraries, schools, community centers, youth clubs, neighborhood groups, local governments - these are the types of organizations that you can look to for support. Why? As a nonprofit, it's these small, local organizations that are most likely to relate to your mission. Unlike large companies or corporations, they also might stand to gain a lot from partnering with your nonprofit.

2. Find a way for you to mutually benefit from collaborating

A partnership should be just that - a genuine alliance in which both parties support the other and benefit from the pairing. Take a 'if you scratch our back, we'll scratch yours' approach and always hold up your end of the bargain. Even if you can't think of a way to immediately reciprocate the support an organization gives you, always thank them and extend an open offer to help them out in future.

3. Take a genuine interest in their cause

When you reach out to a local organization, be mindful not to focus solely on the needs of your nonprofit. Even if it's your cause they're supporting, don't forget to take an interest in them as well. The last thing you want is to make another organization feel like you're using them.

4. Pool your resources

When working in partnership with another organization, identify both the strengths and weaknesses of each group and work together to fill in the gaps. For example, your nonprofit may have a large, active audience but lack the facilities to host a successful event. On the other hand, your partner organization, while lacking a large following, may have access to plenty of great spaces. 

5. Celebrate your success together

After a successful event or campaign, let the organizations you partnered with know how much you appreciate their support. Whether it's a celebration barbecue in the park or simply a bouquet of flowers delivered to their office - invite them to share in the feeling of accomplishment.

What are some examples of Seattle nonprofits that work well with local organizations? 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Image by Kjetil Ree via Wikimedia Commons

Image by Kjetil Ree via Wikimedia Commons

 One of Seattle's most notable charities, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has taken on some large goals. Their main mission is to reduce poverty and poor health conditions in developing countries and to improve the U.S. education system.

While the charity's impact may be far-reaching, it has relied on partnerships with local Washington state organizations to succeed. It works with several local organizations, including the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and the Washington State Department of Early Learning to name just a few.

The Puget Sound Blood Center

Image by Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr

Image by Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr

Western Washington's primary blood bank, the Puget Sound Blood Center is one of the region's most well-known nonprofits. The organization has over 250,000 registered donors and collects around 900 units of blood each day. 

Part of the reason so many of us Seattleites support the PSBC is because we were introduced to it quite early on, during our high school years. The Blood Center partners with local high schools, hosting blood donation events for students who meet the age requirement. As a result of their High School Partnership Program, they inspire young adults to become life-long blood donors.


  What is your experience reaching out to other local organizations? Share your tips and success stories in the comments!