Profiles in Partnership
A series on best practices and sound advice for developing and maintaining successful partnerships between nonprofit and for-profit organizations
BB: It’s all about relationships and connecting as a community. What do you see are the hurdles to nonprofits in building such relationships?
DP: Relationships take time, and time and patience are luxuries for nonprofits faced with the kind of short-term pressures that keep your head down focused on the day-to-day realities. But this external work is essential. It makes life easier when you can pick up the phone and suddenly you have your network mobilized. In fact, it’s critical. Business can help by looking out for and encouraging the relationships that their nonprofit friends need.
BB: From your perspective, what sort of misunderstandings do you see on both sides of the nonprofit for-profit equation that may need to be addressed.
DP: I think it comes down to understanding the limits of each and what the specific mission of each is. When you think about Deloitte, it might be worthwhile to think about us, not as a cash proposition, but as a talent proposition. You need to find out what a business’s key strengths are and how best they can help you. At the same time, it’s very important for business to understand that there are limits to a nonprofit’s capacity to receive help They have many needs, but may not be able to absorb help on everything at once.
BB: How would a nonprofit best come to Deloitte, and also to any for-profit? What should they prepare before they walk into your door?
DP: Be prepared to have a conversation, because it’s about relationship-building in the beginning. When you’re starting out and you’re meeting someone for the first time it’s very much about gaining an understanding of each other in a way that builds trust and communication.
BB: How does Deloitte measure, for lack of a better term, your return on investment for your community contributions?
DP: Our community involvement program is centered on pro bono and volunteerism, so when we talk about measurement, funding is only half the story. Pro bono engagements are also evaluated on outcomes achieved for the nonprofit client including changes in efficiency, effectiveness and reach. We incorporate specific goals into the project design and report back through post-project surveys and other feedback mechanisms. For major financial contributions, we follow a rigorous tracking/measurement process. We generally try to complement cash giving with pro bono or skilled volunteerism, and we establish goals and a framework for achieving them, and then work closely with the nonprofits being supported to ensure progress and make adjustments along the way.
Up Next: Part 4 : CaliforniaVolunteers
For more information on developing highly successful partnerships please visit: www.bruceburtch.com