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Leveraging Good Will: New Data Reinforces That Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships Are Win-Win

The latest Cone Trend Tracker reports that 59% of American consumers “are more likely to buy a product associated with the [nonprofit-corporate] partnership,” and that 50% of consumers are “more likely to donate to the nonprofit” when nonprofits partner with companies.

The latest Cone Trend Tracker reports that 59% of American consumers “are more likely to buy a product associated with the [nonprofit-corporate] partnership,” and that 50% of consumers are “more likely to donate to the nonprofit” when nonprofits partner with companies. By leveraging their good will, companies advance their own interests, while also helping nonprofits to promote their causes in making the world better.

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For business people interested in participating on nonprofit boards, these survey results are helpful. Based on the responses, you can see that nonprofits need your skills, experience, and expertise to help shape their brands and build awareness, which can ultimately yield additional funding for their causes. In working with nonprofit CEOs and boards, I can attest that the issues of brand and identity are among the top agenda items, and integral to the organization’s mission, vision, core strategy, and revenues.

Most relevant to this point, survey results show that “nonprofit marketing elements that help capture consumer attention include having an association with a special event or time period (81%); a memorable color, logo, or icon that symbolizes the cause or issue (79%) and the involvement of a celebrity or other notable spokesperson (61%).”

Businesses can help themselves while helping nonprofits. Here are four particularly powerful ways that I recommend to businesses to advance nonprofits, while enhancing their own brands; the first two are also useful for companies to foster leadership development among their executives and professionals.

  • Encouraging and supporting their executives to serve on nonprofit boards
  • Providing company volunteers who have expertise–“skills based volunteers”
  • Making introductions to powerful people who can be advocates (note the point about celebrities and spokespersons above)
  • Providing financial support and other company resources

A final point is the importance of companies tracking and reporting the results of their CSR programs–to internal as well as external constituencies. I began training companies with a measurement model I created in 1994, published in 1996, and then enhanced over the years with experience with clients. The new Cone survey bears out the value of tracking and reporting. Seventy-five percent of American consumers “want to hear about the results of corporate/nonprofit partnerships,” and only 45% “think nonprofits and companies disclose enough information about their partnerships to consumers, donors or others interested in the relationship.”

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About the author

Korngold provides strategy consulting to global corporations on sustainability, facilitating corporate-nonprofit partnerships, and training and placing hundreds of business executives on NGO/nonprofit boards for 20+ years. She provides strategy and board governance consulting to NGO/nonprofit boards, foundations, and educational and healthcare institutions.

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