In the first post of this series, I covered Part 1: Identifying and Positioning Your Needs, reviewing how to assess your organization’s assets and market them in a way that is appealing to a wide variety of organizations
This second installment, Part 2: Identifying and Researching Potential Partners, outlines several tips to help you determine how best to develop a prospect list and how to research each organization before you meet with them.
Consumers Want Business to Tackle Social Issues
According to Edelman’s Good Purpose Study: 2010 62% of consumers feel strongly that businesses should incorporate cause into day-to-day business practices. And, consumers are willing to put their wallet where their mouths are: social purpose is the #1 purchase trigger when quality and price are the same.
This is great news for non-profits and corporations alike – working together, you can advance missions, help consumers achieve part of their goals for giving back, all while helping both organizations enhance loyalty and boost bottom lines.
Beginning to Identifying Potential Partners?
At For Momentum, we use an in-depth research process to assess each client’s goals, business plans, structure and readiness to implement a cause effort, as well as assess the competitive landscape and identify potential partner organizations (we do this for both non-profit and for-profit clients).
Of course, we all know it’s more efficient and rewarding to start with current partners and determine how to deepen those relationships first. Start in house by focusing on new approaches to engage current partners, looking for ways to better deliver and evaluate mutual value. But, if it’s time to diversify your partner list, consider the following steps.
- Go to the Internet: The internet is still a top resource to conduct general research into various organizations.
- Check local associations/listings: This is especially helpful if you are looking for local partners. Research Chamber of Commerce sites, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau listings.
- Check your competitors: Research who your competition is working with to get ideas of other organizations to place on your research and outreach list.
- Ask your connections: Let your colleagues, board members and your friends know what you’re trying to accomplish; you never know who they know and a warm introduction or referral is better than a cold call any day.
Once you’ve identified a short list of potential matches:
- Determine where there is a mission match: Consider the organization’s current mission and if it is a corporation, considering their existing goals and projects around community efforts.
- Consider geography: If you are a national organization, it’s best to select partners that also have national scope, or one that delivers services/conducts business/scheduled events in most of the same markets as you do.
- Outline target audience connections: Perhaps you are both trying to reach Moms and teens
- Make a list of programmatic links: List the key areas where you see a potential match between what that organization makes or offers to identify where your services, resources, needs, vision might match up, i.e. help your potential partner reach their business objectives
- Assess their assets: Don’t forget to review what the potential partner’s assets are, how you can help them and they can help you. Make a list of outreach vehicles e.g. publications (electronic and hard copy), website, social media, membership database, events, etc.
- Higher-level value: Last, don’t forget to frame your thinking around higher-level value. It’s not about finding a partner to sponsor t-shirts, it’s about helping each other “keep hope alive,” “create a better future,” “support people in crisis,” etc.