Building mutually-satisfying partnerships with organizations complementary to yours is one of the most effective marketing strategies I know, and one of the least costly in terms of budget and time.
Begin by defining how partnerships can help you achieve your core marketing goals. Opportunities include content and contact sharing.
Then prioritize no more than ten organizations that share your values, but aren’t directly competitive in the programs/services offered or engaging the same target audiences (sometimes those partnerships have value too, but don’t start there). Partnerships don’t have to be limited to other nonprofit organizations—consider relevant government agencies and for-profit prospects.
The most productive partnerships are those in which each partner provides the other with “something” that the other lacks, be that a particular group of contacts, content, a skill or even a meeting place. The benefits can vary but make sure you’re clear on the mutual benefits of partnership before connecting.
Reach out yourself, or ask a colleague who already has a relationship with a peer on staff (or volunteering) in the prospective partner organization, to schedule a call or even better, a brief get together. Talk the possibilities through and, if it’s a go, follow up with a letter of agreement to ensure that the partnership goes forward as discussed.
Then bring the partnership to life soon, on both sides, so it doesn’t die a quick death. Showing value is the surefire way to ensure the partnership flourishes.
At GettingAttention.org, we work with partners in many different ways. Today I want to thank the wonderful corps of marketing partners who are joining us to spur entries and votes for the 2012 Nonprofit Tagline Awards (open for entries on June 25, join our mailing list to get Awards news a.s.a.p.), share the results of the current 2012 Nonprofit Messages Survey (open until June 13; please take 5 minutes to respond now), herald the award winners, and offer the all-new Nonprofit Tagline Report and Database this fall.
These organizations are committed to helping the nonprofits they serve strengthen their organizations, results and ultimate impact; and join us here to help produce vital insights for marketers and fundraisers. Thank you all—we couldn’t do it without you:
P.S. How are partnerships helping to advance your marketing goals? Any specific recommendations on identifying and strengthening the most productive partnerships? Please share your insights here.