Long term strategic partnerships are an efficient way of injecting ongoing funding into your not-for-profit(NFP) organisation.

    Long term strategic partnerships are an efficient way of injecting ongoing funding into your not-for-profit(NFP) organisation. However, you need to understand what your organisation and what the partner organisation wants from the relationship to ensure it delivers on the strategic goals of both organisations.

    Here are the top three things to think about when evaluating whether to enter into a strategic partnership.

    1. Are they the right fit?

      This may be the most important piece of the puzzle to get right. Aligning with a business or brand that has natural fit and similar values to your organisation is important.

      • Public perception –you don't want to be associated with a business that promotes behaviour contrary to your own mission. A natural fit helps the public to "get" your partnership and reinforces your brand identity.
      • Operational perspective – shared values will result in a better working relationship. It's time-consuming and counterproductive to be continuously fighting against your partner.
      • Aligned, not identical – While your two organisations should have a natural fit and shared philosophy your sponsor or business partner does not need to share your specific passion – they just need to be able to see the commercial benefit in the relationship.
    2. Define the commercial benefit

      A strategic partnership is about much more than a partner organisation putting their logo everywhere. Before entering into an agreement ensure you define your expectations from the partnership and have quantified what you can offer.

      • Valuation – Be aware of what your organisation are "worth" and understand the benefits a business would receive by being able to associate with your name.
      • Clarity – It is also important to be up front as to what you can offer a potential partner.
      • Flexibility – If your partner or sponsor brings different ideas to the table, keep an open mind and focus on the overall strategic aims.
    3. Continue to evaluate the relationship

      Once the ink is dry on the agreement don't assume that's the end. Once a year, your board should review and approve the direction, strategy and funding agreements for all strategic partners. This is an important step to determine whether the relationship remains consistent with your needs and the ultimate cause your organisation supports.

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