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Strategic Partnerships So Your Nonprofit Can Survive. Nonprofit MBA Podcast 2.9

Summary: Strategic partnerships are used in the for-profit world quite often. However, strategic partnerships can also be used in the non-profit and social service sectors as well. These partnerships can help build momentum within a targeted community and can help aid in executing a mission more effectively. Coming together with another organization can often cause a surplus of new ideas to come about, and it can be overwhelming knowing where to focus your energy. That is why for any strategic partnership it is crucial to be able to reflect on your own organization before looking outside for help. Having a strong and efficient team and board members is crucial in making the process flow smoothly. Today’s episode will introduce Ingrid Bredeneberg who will help give some expert advice on managing a strategic partnership for your non-profit.

Today’s Podcast is: Strategic Partnerships So Your Nonprofit Can Survive

Welcome, everyone. My name is Stephen Halasnik and I am CoFounder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is the leading provider of lines of credit to nonprofits. Our line of credit program is easy, fast, inexpensive, and costs nothing until used, making it a great cash backup plan. If you would like to learn more about the program, please visit us at www.nonprofitmbapodcast.com or feel free to give us a call at 862-207-4118. If you decide to apply today, we will even give you a $250 credit on file. Today, I am excited to be speaking with Ingrid Bredenberg from Bredenberg Associates. For over 25 years Ingrid has worked with hundreds of leadership teams as well as with consultants, coaches, and trainers. She brings expertise, creativity, and vitality, to project that require high-level alignment and commitment. Ingrid has a lot of experience in both non-profit and for-profit industries often involving the senior team and the board which leads to her work in building trust and accountability.

We quite often hear of businesses coming together through partnerships in order to thrive and make even greater success. However, we don’t always hear of non-profits coming together through partnerships.

Ingrid believes that the key to having a creative organization is by having strong leadership. One might think that for-profits are more creative due to the fact that they have strong competition. However, Ingrid shares that non-profits have to think like for-profits through having a strong mindset and leadership in order to serve their communities.

The Coronavirus pandemic is a current crisis impacting the nonprofit community, specific functionality in 2020. However, this time has given non-profits an opportunity to evaluate themselves and see if they are truly achieving true social impact and mission which they were founded upon. COVID-19 has given non-profit organizations and other social service organizations a chance to revisit their true purpose and perhaps pivot if they are not currently doing so.

Steps to Take to Ensure a Successful Non-profit Partnership

1. Reflect

2. Be Open-minded

3. Execution

1. Reflect on Your Organization (Know Yourself)

The first thing any non-profit should do is a thorough analysis of the organization, in order to self-reflect. This is an opportunity for the board, staff, and executive director to see if the mission is being carried out by their current management. A successful organization wants to have its staff and board both be engaged with their goals and vision for the future.

A key step in reflecting on your organization is to go back to the roots of it. Take a look at why your non-profit organization was started in the first place. Be able to define yourself and the direction of where you want the future to look like.

Being able to look at your business model by doing an environmental scan will help the organization be able to pinpoint and identify current strengths and problems. After your organization is able to reflect on the current state and functionality of the non-profit, this is a great opportunity to look externally as well. Look out toward other non-profits who maybe have a different area of strength than you do or vice versa.

Just because you are able to identify other organizations that may have different areas of strengths than you, do not worry. This is a perfect time to introduce the possibility of nonprofit partnerships. Professional development between different organizations can help bridge gaps, resolve threats, and produce synergy.

Having various potential partners can bring about benefits for both organizations such as enhanced marketing, branding, or social media exposure. During the pandemic, it is no secret that non-profits and organizations within the nonprofit sector have been struggling to even stay afloat. So while strategic partnerships can help better serve a community, it can also help you as well.

When partnering with another company, it is crucial to be able to create a stronger voice, build relationships, combine visions, and ultimately amplify the benefits in your shared community.

2. Be Open-minded

After self-reflection and identifying possible strategic partnership, the next step for success is being open-minded. Finding an organization that has shared values can help accelerate the benefits for your shared community. Additionally, working together to benefit your shared community helps focus attention greatly on creativity and coming up with new ideas. When brainstorming ideas with another non-profit, there is undoubtedly going to be a surplus of creativity. However, knowing how to manage time effectively and where to put the most effort is key to success. For example, it may be more beneficial to collaborate on a shared short-term project rather than numerous smaller shared ideas.

How do you know what the most effective collaboration will look like? For starters, imagine the three circle “hedgehog concept”. One circle should represent what an organization is best at, the second circle should represent what they are passionate about, and the third circle should represent what drives its economic engine. Where these three circles intersect is where your time, treasure, and talent should be focused on in collaboration. The organizations that put their focus in these areas have been statistically proven to last the longest. Another thing that may be important to keep in mind is knowing when to say “no”. Knowing when to say no to ideas that either you don’t have enough resources for or don’t serve your mission, will help enhance efficiency. Find what you are really great at, focus on that.

Further, attracting potential stakeholders/funders can be done by inviting in leaders who can possibly invest in your nonprofit. An effective way to do this is by hosting events such as a leadership summit, in order to spark rich conversations. Having events such as this would allow people in sectors of Government, healthcare, media, and other non-profits to brainstorm ideas around trends and forces that are affecting targeted communities. This can be seen as a large-scale “data dump” and in essence helps the board and staff to come together with effective decision-making. This will help generate more nonprofit fundraising, donations, sponsorships, success within your own non-profit, as well as generate any future possible collaborations.

Through these partnership efforts, you can amplify or deliver services better than anyone else and have an increased ability to deliver on a promise. The best outcome for strategic partnerships is that you can create a greater impact than you would on your own.

3. Redefine Who and What Your Organization Is (Execution)

Once you have a partnership/collaboration and ideas are flowing, you and your nonprofit leaders can put together a business plan that will help execute any visions in order to achieve your mission. Having influential people in the community and the board can set the direction for the health and vitality of the organization. Having board members who are willing to be visionary and have good relationships in the community is also key to being able to execute strategic planning properly. After ideas are brought together, you can use the head of your organization (CEO or Director) to make a change.

In the nonprofit world, the greatest part of a partnership whether it is through a fundraiser or creating new programs is that you get to strengthen your organization. This can relate back to step one, and aids in refining and redefining your mission. In order to be successful, board members, the board of directors, executive director, business leaders, etc. all need to work together effectively.

Lastly, be able to solidify focused expectations that strengthen your purpose and mission. What does this look like? This could include legal contracting between you and the other non-profit organization. This will ensure clarity between the two teams. This should not seem like a daunting contract, but rather an agreement to ensure the best outcome and ensure that core values are maintained.

Conclusion:

I would like to thank you so very much Ingrid Bredenberg from Bredenberg Associates. If you like today’s podcast, please feel free to share it with a friend and also subscribe on your favorite podcasting app. If you liked today’s podcast please give us a review on your podcasting app to help us get the word out, and of course, if you are looking for a Line of Credit for your nonprofit, you can call us at 862-207-4118 or visit our website at www.nonprofitmbapodcast.com.

Ingrid, if anyone wants to get in touch with Ingrid, you can reach her at [email protected] or LinkedIn @IngridBredenberg .

Thank you all for making the world a better place

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