Embracing Partnerships for Capital Campaign Success

Collaborations or partnerships can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful capital campaign, especially in communities where nonprofits vie for the same pool of foundation and corporate support. Competition for financial resources is greatly reduced by partnering with organizations with compatible missions that are targeting a common goal or community need. The added strength to the case provided by working with multiple partners helps get the project accomplished in the most efficient, effective way for the community.

Reasons for campaign partners

Successful partnerships multiply each organization’s strengths, pool resources, and provide innovative solutions to shared challenges. Together, the partner organizations can accomplish what they could never begin to do alone. All the partners benefit by greatly expanding their reach into the community. New donors come to your door because of their prior association with your new partnering organization. Collaborating on a capital campaign provides the opportunity for your organization to become part of the inner circle, or family, of another organization.

Collaborations, especially those with nontraditional partners, can attract additional funding opportunities that would not be available to your organization as a sole agency. For example, the Kresge Foundation, non-local foundations, major corporations, and federal, state, and local government municipalities all strongly encourage, and at times require, partnerships to apply for grant funding.

Partnerships developed now will help in future capital, annual and endowment campaigns, gaining a much broader base of new friends for annual and endowment support. Shared community publicity leads to increased interest and awareness for all the agencies. Also, all partners involved in a joint capital campaign will be much more interested in repeating the process when the need for expansion or another project arises in the future. In my personal experience involving a former YMCA collaboration with a library, a hospital, a school system, and municipality, all key partners approached the Y about a new project in another part of the county. The tremendous positive experience of the partners caused them to approach the Y seeking partnership, not the other way around.

Partnerships in capital campaigns increases financial and campaign leadership support in future campaigns.  Volunteers and foundations love to be associated with a successful track record. The trust built by developing healthy relationships with partners leads to a successful campaign, creating a much stronger case for the next capital campaign project, then the next, and on and on…

Finding traditional and non-traditional partners

So, where do you look for traditional and non-traditional partners?  Start by becoming familiar with current program collaborations, organizations with similar missions, non-traditional organizations who share a common goal, municipalities, government, other branches of your own agency, and relationships suggested by your own communities’ needs assessments.  Get out and talk to your community leaders and foundations.  Many times they are aware of a potential partner, and if it is suggested by them, you are assured of their support in the future.

The important thing is to start developing relationships now.  They take time, and when the opportunity affords itself to enter into the excitement and challenge of a joint campaign, that relationship needs to be established so it carries you through to a successful, and rewarding capital campaign experience, and ultimately, to fulfillment of not only your mission, but the mission of your partners and your community.

On September 26th, 2010, posted in: Campaign Planning, Partnerships by

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