Source 7: Strategic Partnerships with Businesses
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Source 7: Strategic Partnerships with Businesses


Partnering with business can lead to long-term, multifaceted support that strengthens and grows both organizations.

A successful partnership involves communication, as well as clear goals in terms of where you want to go and where your partner wants to go.

More on Corporate Partnerships

  • Practical Tips
    Make partnerships work for you and your partner. Get our tips.
  • Making the Right Deal
    Learn how to establish guidelines for selecting a business partner and how to handle ethical issues. Follow our suggestions.
  • Letters of Agreement
    A nonprofit/for-profit partnership is usually about a community service. But it is a business arrangement, and it should have a clearly written letter of agreement. See what yours should include.
  • Advantages and Barriers
    Look at all sides to evaluate potential partnerships. Use our list. 

Corporate Volunteers

Securing employee volunteers gets your toe in the door of a business. It’s also the lowest risk and best initial form of partnership. Short-term, episodic volunteer opportunities attract corporate volunteers better than longer commitments. See seven tips for success.  

More Resources

  • The Foundation Center
    This is a one-stop shop in the area of corporate giving. It hosts webinars and introductions to corporate giving, as well as advanced training on how to secure corporate partnerships. There is also a video on Tips for Securing Successful Corporate Partnerships and a searchable database on corporate givers. Explore the site.
  • Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy
    This is a business forum for CEOs involved in corporate philanthropy. It offers an inside perspective on how businesses think, act, and measure the effectiveness of their partnerships with nonprofit organizations. CECP’s website posts research, benchmarking studies, best-practice articles, and conference proceedings to improve corporate philanthropy. Shaping the Future: Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy and CECP’s 2009 corporate giving data are two of the most recent resources available on the site. Read these important reports.
  • The Collaboration Challenge: How Nonprofits and Businesses Succeed Through Strategic Alliances by James Austin is an older, but well-respected book that is now available in a Kindle edition at Get an ecopy.
  • Giving in Numbers by Margaret Coady provides data collected from 137 companies to show the state of corporate philanthropy for the 2008 giving year. Topics include giving and the economy, cash and non-cash giving, pro bono service, giving by budget source, corporate foundations, matching gifts, motivations for giving, giving by program area, international giving, giving by ethnicity and gender, voluntarism, staffing trends, and management and program costs. Read this report.
  • Weathering the Storm: The State of Corporate Citizenship in the United States 2009 by Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship includes findings for small, medium, and large companies. It explores  the challenges of integrating corporate citizenship into core business practices and how tough economic times have impacted these practices. Review survey results.
  • Shaping the Future: Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy is a must-read, thoughtful report. Download.
  • Corporate Philanthropy Resource Guide from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy assesses select organizations to develop a tool for more strategic and effective corporate giving. Review this report.
  • Business’s Social Contract: Capturing the Corporate Philanthropy Opportunity
    This guide by the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy is useful to get insights into what CEOs are looking for in nonprofit partnerships. Learn about business insights.


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