Does your organization have trouble finding new community partners? Are you unsure why you would need community partners? Check out this article 5 Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Invest in Community Partners.
To find new community partners you need to network for your organization and build mutually beneficial relationships. However, unlike regular personal and professional networking, there usually aren’t specific networking events. So, where can your organization source new community partnerships?
1) Current Stakeholders
First, your organization should explore its current stakeholder relationships. Stakeholders are people who are invested and/or have an influence in the organization. In some cases, stakeholders are already community partners. However, often, your organization can grow these partnerships by investing in them.
Having trouble identifying your current stakeholders? Here’s a Community Partner Stakeholder Wheel Worksheet that can help generate ideas. Then, complete the Community Partner Stakeholder Analysis to prioritize and better understand their needs.
2) Indirect Connections
Another great place to find new community partners is through indirect connections. These are entities directly connected to the people who are connected to your organization. Some examples include the school in which the Executive Director sends their children, the organization where a staff member regularly volunteers at lunch or the company owned by a volunteer.
It is imperative to make sure that you have the approval of your direct connection. But, if you navigate carefully, these indirect connections can become great community partners.
3) Local, Regional, State, and National Organizations
Your organization can also generate ideas for potential community partners through pre-existing membership lists. Some great places to check include:
- The local Better Business Bureau
- The local Chamber of Commerce
- Regional networking groups and alliances (ex. Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance)
- Statewide networking groups, alliances, coalitions (ex. Michigan Nonprofit Association)
- National Directories (ex. Guidestar)
4) Targeted Need
Lastly, target public, private, or nonprofit entities whose partnership can solve a specific need or goal.
It is important to know that your partnership isn’t limited to the reasons for which you have targeted a potential community partner. For example, if the need is transportation, your organization can target cab companies, limo companies, and local bussing organizations as potential partners. These partners could desire a partnership that goes beyond simply providing a transportation arrangement. Maybe they are also interested in a donation or fiscal sponsorship. Or, maybe they would like to get their staff into volunteering with your organization. Or, they could have access to cheap catering and would like to provide food for your annual gala.
Mia is a committed, cause-driven consultant who partners with nonprofits to grow their impact, achieve their mission, and actualize their vision. She believes in the power of nonprofits and their ability to solve the most challenging problems if they have the right resources.