I cannot say this enough, relationships both inside and outside of your organization are so very important, including corporate partnerships. And it’s not enough to just secure those crucial corporate partnerships. As a non-profit leader, you need to nurture them, which in turn will grow your social impact.

Today, I want to share some tips on how to build stronger corporate partnerships – and I just love that these same tips can be applied to any relationship such as with your board members, team, or volunteers!

  1. Communicate Openly – Being open and communicative is the most basic way to build stronger corporate partnerships, no matter how difficult the topic may be. You want to have conversations around financials, mistakes, and management styles which will help foster a foundation of trust.
  2. Be Authentic – Let others see who you really are. It’s important to be authentic with yourself and with those around you. While this might seem intimidating at first, I promise you that there are plenty of amazing effects- you’ll earn respect and trust as a leader. Remember, vulnerability is incredibly important for leaders to perform their best work and inspire trust from their partners. I’ve learned this on my journey, that being vulnerable and authentic is the only way to build trust, being humble and leaning in when it’s hard…being courageous and knowing that as John Maxwell states, “Everything rises and falls with leadership”,
  3. Maintain Consistency – We’re all only as good as our word. To maintain the respect and trust you’ve worked so hard to cultivate, make sure to remain consistent with your partners and follow through on any promises you make. Yes, even if those promises are as simple as “returning an email within 1 business day”!
  4. Practice Integrity and Honesty – While we all know that “honesty is the best policy”, we must challenge ourselves to practice it every single day. Because it’s when we are honest and upfront about our strengths and weaknesses, and we ask the same of our partners, that we continue to build that foundation of trust.
  5. Respect Their Boundaries – Be mindful of your partner and avoid micro-managing. Give them the space they need to do their part. On the other hand, be equally mindful to offer support and guidance when they need it from you. 

A complete hands-on or hands-off approach doesn’t work in a strong partnership. Find your balance. Be sure to put in the effort to understand your partner’s boundaries and convey your own just as openly.

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller