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Steward Your Partnerships Like a Boss: Partnership Strategy Tips for Nonprofits

Steward Your Partnerships Like a Boss: Partnership Strategy Tips for Nonprofits

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To help charities reorganize during these challenging times, Accelerist has created a four-part series to help you analyze and elevate your partnership strategy. In case you missed the first three blogs, you can find out more information about prospecting here, positioning your organization’s value here, and activating your audiences here.

In this fourth and final installment, we’re sharing insights on how your charity can evaluate and strengthen your existing partnerships through stewardship. 

With a heightened focus on building new partnerships, the importance of stewardship is often overlooked in corporate fundraising. Yet, the vast majority of your annual corporate revenue will come from partners that already know and love your mission and organization. 

Corporations in today's world don't just want to support your mission once, they want to create long-lasting and tangible change alongside you for years to come. Stellar stewardship can deepen your relationship with your partners and help build trust in your expertise.

We've borrowed basic business principles to help you steward your partners like a boss! 

In business, customer retention is "big business." High customer retention rates can help a company spend less on marketing, improve the overall lifetime value of a customer, and earn more referrals. The impact that partner (or any kind of donor) retention can have on a charitable organization should be no different.

According to the Harvard Business Review, increasing customer (or partner) retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.  Additionally, it's 5 - 25x more expensive to acquire a new customer (or partner) than it is to retain an existing one.

Learn more about specific corporate partnership retention benchmarks in Accelerist’s Steward Like A Boss Playbook.

To identify your stewardship strategies, first, consider your current state of affairs. Good questions to ask your team: 

  • What kinds of partners have we retained/lost over the last 3+ years?
  • Which assets are most of our partners leveraging?
  • Which of our partners could support us in a deeper way?

Next, consider these key stewardship best practices to level up your retention strategy:

  1. Onboarding & Goal-Setting:  Host partner kick-off calls that include: 1) Goal-setting, 2) 30, 60 and 90-day+ expectations, 3) Measurement, communications and reporting plans.
  2. Partner Sufficiency: Support your partners' ability to amplify the partnership with a toolkit including your brand guidelines, assets and pre-approved content.
  3. Opportunities & Education:  The Top 10% of your partners donate 3x more than the rest. Create VIP opportunities and advisory boards to deepen relationships.

Perhaps one of the most important tactics of a stewardship strategy is reporting.  If you're not reporting to ALL of your partners the value they experienced in partnering with you - start doing so yesterday! Reporting doesn't have to be extensive, just deliberate. 

Value, for us, comes in four different forms:

  • Business Value - the ability to impact a business goal of your partner's.
  • Financial Value - the ability to demonstrate a tangible return on their investment or a subsidized expense.
  • Constituent Value - the ability to engage their consumers/employees and drive greater affinity/loyalty.
  • Societal Value - the ability to explain how their support directly impacted your mission.

For more stewardship best practices, download Accelerist’s Steward Like a Boss Playbook

Guest contributions represent the personal opinions and insights of the authors and may not reflect the views or opinions of Imagine Canada.

Accelerist is the leader in social impact partnership technology, supporting hundreds of brands and charitable organizations in finding and growing their partnerships with each other. For more tools and resources about purpose-driven partnerships, please visit the Accelerist Insights page

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