Mismatched expectations can be the source of great frustration and disappointment. Like online shopping when you think you’ve found the perfect outfit, but what arrives is a mess of polyester that’s cut for a skinny giraffe. Or maybe you’ve booked a fabulous looking holiday villa only to find that your balcony view is of the high-rise car park next door.
The latest partnerships research from the UK shows some common areas of agreement but some similarly mismatched views. The good news is that 93% of NGOs and 82% of corporate expect cross sector partnerships to be more or much more important over the next three years. The divergence occurs when they dig into what each partner wants from the partnership.
Corporates wanted a range of things including:
- Access to knowledge
- Enhanced reputation and credibility
- Access to new markets
- HR development
What did NGOs want? 95% wanted to raise more funds.
Whilst income is important, especially when your beneficiaries are struggling with the cost of living crisis, non-profits risk compromising long-term partnerships by failing to deliver on what corporates need most. They need your knowledge. You need to package it up in a way that helps their business and transforms life for your beneficiaries.
Your non-profit has expertise over many years of programs, services and advocacy. How can you leverage this expertise to change a corporate’s business practices for good? The partnership between Cancer Council and CBA resulted in a guide that helps people diagnosed with serious illness to manage their finances in troubled times. It is combined with targeted training for CBA staff on how to manage enquiries with empathy, understanding and practical solutions. Cancer Council has used its expertise to shape CBA’s services to its customers and enabled them to retain customers and minimise defaults when people are struggling with serious illness.
What do you know about that is valuable to a corporate partner? In the UK research 55% of corporates wanted to gain insights and better understanding about relevant groups of consumers and key beneficiaries through their NFP partnerships. Through the partnership between banking giant HSBC and Shelter, the charity addressing homelessness, the bank gained insights into the particular problems faced by homeless people in accessing financial services. Through their No Fixed Address initiative, people were able to open a bank account and receive wrap around services from Shelter. It enabled people experiencing homelessness to access government payments and other support and provided a pathway to future employment. HSBC has been able to improve and expand its services and solve a genuine problem whilst raising public awareness. It relied on the insights and networks of Shelter to design and deliver this innovative program.
How do you measure and communicate impact? Your impact analysis and reporting will help a corporate determine the success of its interventions and feed into ESG metrics. If you can demonstrate improvements for the end beneficiaries a corporate is willing to enhance its processes, services and product design to support those improvements. WESNET works with women experiencing family violence. It can clearly demonstrate the effect of cyber stalking and the impact of training the sector in technology safety. Its partnership with Telstra ensures that women have access to new phones and are supported to escape from technology-based abuse.
You have a wealth of value in your heads. Your expertise, insights, knowledge of your cause and deep understanding of your beneficiaries provide unique value to a corporate partner. Yes, they will reward you with cash and other support, but make sure you’re delivering what’s most important to them. You’ll achieve a better result for society together.