I was on a panel yesterday at Booz Allen Hamilton in partnership with Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative, and here is my favorite advice shared by panelists from the session, “Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships and Innovation Communication Technologies.”
1. Identify a catalyzing event
Partnerships take off when there is an urgent impetus that all parties share – like a desire to meet a humanitarian need or a new political opportunity or a shared passion. Catalyzing events can create a sense of immediacy that brings together partners expeditiously and improves their ability to work together.
2. Share an audience
The best partnerships share an audience. The nonprofit AND the company want to reach the same people – and get them to take the same actions. It’s the win-win proposition that brings each party to the table and keeps them there long enough to achieve success.
3. Create shared value — or else
The partnership can’t just be a win for your cause if you want it to live long and strong. If you don’t drive business value for your corporate partner, the partnership is always at risk. While social good is an aim that all of us – including our corporate partners – support, the partnerships that last are those that drive business results beyond a brand halo. Serve the philanthropic agendas of the company – but also the business ones. Companies have to create value for their shareholders, after all. Build partnerships around MUTUAL benefits or you won’t be partnering at all.