Contributed by Brooks Kenny, Lead Strategist at Lotsa Helping Hands
I’ve been lucky enough to be selected two years in a row to speak at the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit where leading investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, analysts and marketers gathered to address the needs and wants of the 50+ demographic. On the agenda? The power that comes when nonprofit organizations team up with companies. As consumers, we look to companies to support social causes, to put their marketing muscle to good use. Here at Lotsa, our commitment to “doing good” is embedded in the fabric of our vision. So, you can imagine my delight to have been able to share the stage with John Feather, CEO of Grantmakers in Aging and our moderator, Sherri Snelling, CEO of the Caregiving Club to share strategies in forging these great relationships for good.
Nonprofits and companies have been coming together to address social challenges for decades. While they often come to the table with very different points of view, nonprofits and companies can create a long lasting impact. As in any good relationship, each party needs to make a comparable effort. Each needs to understand what the other brings to the partnership in order for it to thrive. Indeed, there are rules of courtship that must be taken into account. Here is a quick excerpt from the session – my three favorite rules of courtship that, when followed, can produce the warm and fuzzies.
First impressions are everything
Nonprofits and companies are equally busy. Even in the most hectic of times, being considerate of each other goes a long way. How the relationship begins is often a good indicator of how things will evolve. Simple actions like returning phone calls and delivering what is promised in the early stages of courtship make a big difference.
Don’t enter into a relationship hoping to change one another
How often do we try to change one another when first entering into a relationship? We tell ourselves a story about how things might be different or make excuses for behavior that is less than ideal. For partnerships to be successful, companies and nonprofits must remember not to overpromise or ask for more than the other can handle.
One-night-stands are to be avoided!
When nonprofits and companies really began forming partnerships in the early 1980s, many companies opted for the one-night stand, or very short-term partnership. This presents a unique challenge for the nonprofit who wants to build long-term community programs. In year one, there’s funding to launch the program, but in year two, the nonprofit has to quickly search for replacement income. The best partnerships are those that last at least two years and perhaps longer.
Partnerships at Lotsa Helping Hands
We knew we had an opportunity early on to forge partnerships with the nonprofit sector to benefit our Members – we are proud of the Lotsa family we have created – 50+ nonprofits and growing. For us, it’s the perfect match. We are able to provide our growing membership of 1 million volunteers with resources from our nonprofit partners. Our nonprofit partners are able to increase awareness for their cause while educating caregivers, families and volunteers. Individuals caring for loved ones and volunteering to help can create a caring
Community and benefit from information and resources provided by the nonprofit.
For example, if you want to help a friend who is caring for her mom with Alzheimer’s disease, you can create a Community of helpers using Lotsa Helping Hands. The Alzheimer’s Association provides information and resources to the Members of that private Community. Everyone learns more and our Members tell us they feel better able to help. That’s powerful.