Creating partnerships with individuals and organizations is something NGOs do to continually function accordingly. Maintaining partners for constant support is essential in being able to implement more projects. But some may wonder, what is the secret to partnerships that don’t just end after a particular event or project?
The formula is actually quite simple. Nothing complicated and unattainable. Similar to maintaining a good and effective relationship with family and friends, partnerships should be treated alike. A relationship well taken care of with partners can lead to opportunities with foreign funding agencies for NGOs such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Nippon Foundation Grants, the Graham Foundation Grants, the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, the Nederland’s Albert Schweitzer Fund, and many others. Consequently, maintaining good relationships will also get the attention of corporations who can possibly develop the interest to partner as well or go as far as making regular donations. In this article, we have come up with a list which NGOs should be doing to generate effective and lasting relationships with their partners.
The Essence of Surprise
It’s true when people say try not to expect because expectations can be disappointing. Furthermore, things are more appreciated when they’re given without requests or expectations of compliance. For your partners, try to go above and beyond the partnership agreement. Examples of this would be simple acts like thanking and acknowledging them on social media after the success of an event or project you worked with. This way, partners will know that you value them beyond the project or event you have worked on together.
When rendering your side of the agreement, make sure you abide accordingly and on time. Don’t wait for partners to remind you, in fact, remind them ahead of time that you have already scheduled the task that is required of you. This gives your partners the idea and assurance of your reliability and commitment in the relationship. Those who give funds for NGOs also appreciate it when the NGOs they have generously partnered with are prompt with their deliverables without sacrificing quality.
Seek Further Opportunities
Maintaining a good and continual partnership with either sponsors or partners is ideal but if there are opportunities to go bigger, consider the benefits it can bring to your NGO. For example, if your sponsor is currently working on a project with another NGO and if it is in line with the type of work you do, try to get involved. That way, you don’t only participate in an additional project, you also gain new partners which you can work alongside and learn from.
Seeking for further opportunities will also give your partners the idea that you appreciate what they do and is looking long-term in terms of the partnership they have to offer.
Develop Good Communication Skills
Good communication has always been an inevitable requirement in terms of partnerships. Bad communication causes misunderstandings between the parties involved and can lead to the opposite of what the expected turnout of the relationship is. It’s important to always be clear and direct to the point when requesting for something or just interacting in general. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify matters to avoid miscommunication.
Especially in this day and age, news travels quickly. Failure to effectively converse with a certain partner can reach other organizations, philanthropists, potential donors, NGO projects consultants, and more which can really hinder the growth of your NGO.
This is especially relevant when partnering with corporations or for-profit businesses. In the earlier bullets, you have been given tips on how to make partners feel valued and appreciated – as relevant as they are, also make sure your partners know what you bring to the table. For example, when partnering with corporations, it is significant for them to be aware of improvements they have experienced in their business since they have partnered with you. Although they are for-profit, the benefits they earn from you aren’t limited to profit alone. Possibly, since the partnership with you, they have gained more positive views from the public and, in turn, can generate profit eventually. As important as it is for partners to feel esteemed, it’s also your job to make sure they feel the same way towards the partnership you offer.
Share your Ambitions
To begin an effective relationship, both parties should know what each of them wants to achieve through the partnership. That way, helping each other reach the goals set out will be a simpler task. For example, if what your NGO plans to achieve through the partnership would be to be able to send out proposals for CSR funding, your partners should be aware that what you want from them would be invitations to networking events. Similarly, if you seek corporate funding for NGOs, corporations should be open to the possibilities and be transparent with what they seek for from you.
Acquiring multiple partners may seem like an achievement at the beginning, but maintaining them will ultimately be more favorable for your NGO. Maintaining good relations with existing partners will inherently help you seek more partnerships and inevitably expand. Besides that, more time can be spent on other missions such as crafting impressive proposals and ultimately serve and support your chosen beneficiaries.