Building community partnerships between nonprofit organizations and businesses, with the goal of tackling seemingly intractable social problems, is a long-term strategy. Not only is the private sector interested in addressing difficult social issues, but it may also have other business goals around providing meaningful employee engagement opportunities, showing shareholders a strong ROI, and coming together as a united team to make a difference in a community.
GroundFloor Media and CenterTable assembled a group of local community and business leaders for a panel discussion at our Get Connected event earlier this month. The focus was a discussion on how they are forging new alliances and breaking new ground to build a better community.
The Get Connected panelists included:
- Andrea Fulton, Deputy Director and CMO, Denver Art Museum
- Diana Ralston, Executive Director of The Can’d Aid Foundation and the Director of Sponsorships for Oskar Blues Brewery
- Jim Johnston, Senior Marketing Manager, Bellco Credit Union
- Ned Breslin, CEO, Tennyson Center for Children
- Patsy Landaveri, Senior Community Affairs Advisor, Noble Energy
One of the biggest challenges for nonprofits is knowing how to connect with a corporate partner, especially securing that first meeting. Panelists agreed it comes from having the right personal connections to make introductions or alignment with a shared purpose.
According to Diana, once that first meeting is secured, doing your research and coming prepared to talk through ideas versus showing up with a proposal will help start a conversation. And that will lead to creating a program that will benefit both organizations.
For example, Bellco and the Denver Art Museum have partnered on the Free for Kids program, which provides free general admission to anyone 18 and under to the museum. Jim mentioned that having an honest conversation at the beginning of the partnership about Bellco’s goals with the Museum helped create the program and set measurable goals.
Ned and Patsy also shared background on their long-term partnership. “Having a shared value has led to our successful partnership,” said Ned. In fact, since 2008 Noble has been a corporate sponsor, and its employees have participated in a variety of Tennyson Center activities, from the summer BBQs with kids to Noble Energy volunteer workdays, to assemble and deliver 100 backpacks filled with school supplies for Tennyson Center students.
Learn more by watching the full panel discussion: http://bit.ly/GFMpartnership