3-Part Series (Part 3): This is the third post in my series about what’s preventing growth in cause partnerships for nonprofit organizations as discussed in the Nonprofit Corporate Development Leadership Summit. In my first post, I outlined how cause partnerships have grown and evolved and then discussed that internal politics and structures were named most frequently as a challenge to growth in this area. In my second post, I discussed Staffing/Resource challenges.
Previously I discussed that Staffing/Resource concerns were second on our list of the Top 3 issues that nonprofit cause practitioners face within their own environment. Now let’s discuss the third issue.
NUMBER 3: SILOS
Issue: Silos are a factor that inhibits both players in the cause partnership equation. Within the corporate setting, there are many variables and departmental functions to integrate. If a nonprofit is lucky enough to get a foot in one door (Marketing, PR, HR, Community Relations, Foundation, etc.), it frequently remains difficult to engage other departmental stakeholders. This dynamic is unfortunately a big challenge within the nonprofit organization as well. Cause practitioners are fighting internal issues related to territorialism as well as operational delivery and cross-functional accountability with other departmental executives.
- One suggestion brainstormed by participants in the Nonprofit Corporate Leadership Development Summit was to integrate key players from all departments into a steering committee of sorts. Insure that all players have a voice at the table and that all functions have measurable responsibilities that they are held accountable for at performance evaluation time. As the saying goes, “That which gets reported gets done!”
- One proven tactic to direct participation within the nonprofit setting is to reward participation by chapters and other key function areas (programs, marketing, web) with some of the financial reward created by the cause alliance. Allocate some of the funding toward these player’s bottom lines, and they will be much more willing to participate!