WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A COMMUNITY PARTNER
Trends indicate that companies with community investment programs are interested in partnering with community based organizations and institutions. By working with community partners, companies are able to directly benefit communities, while also strengthening relationships with their customers and employees.
For effective long-term partnerships, it is important for any company to consider what type of impact it would like to create through community investment, and how the community partner is positioned to enable and support these outcomes. To better understand the alignment between the company’s goals for community investment and partners’ goals for community development, compare your company’s mission, vision and values to that of the potential partner. Choosing partners strategically will allow both parties to achieve organizational goals.
Selecting a partner who is aligned with the company’s purpose and core function often enables the company to support the community organization more effectively (i.e. by leveraging know-how, in-kind donations, or key relationships). A close connection between company and community organization’s focus areas also creates a more memorable affiliation – it ‘just make sense’ given the business that you’re in.
It is also beneficial to keep your employees and customers in mind when selecting community partners. Companies can build loyalty and goodwill by selecting causes that customers and employees support. Additionally, by choosing partners that employee’s support, organizations are able to build employee engagement and retention while creating a positive work environment. Often the most vibrant and enduring community investment programs have a strong personal connection to the cause the community partner is supporting- such as an executive with a family member who has experienced a disease.
While any contribution will has an impact on the community, companies seeking to maximize the benefits of their contribution will focus on ensuring they choose the right partner- through carefully evaluating alignment, engagement and passion.