Partnerships between government and nonprofits can create a powerful coalition for addressing community issues and economic development. It is important to remember that the nonprofit sector is diverse ranging from small founder-led community groups to major health systems. So it is important to know what skills you need for your project – a heavy hitter with access to significant resources, a creative grassroots leader….or both.
Here are a few advantages for cultivating a partnership with a nonprofit:
- A Larger/Different Pie – Nonprofits often cross municipal boundaries giving your project the ability to tap a broader range of constituents and support. They can leverage their audience of individual, corporate and foundation donors to provide additional financial support and/or their members for community participation and buy-in for the project.
- Board Leadership – Nonprofit board members are community movers and shakers who care about making a difference. Partnership with the organization gets them on board with your project.
- Expertise – Nonprofits have content experts such as educators, designers, curators, technologists and professional networks that can add value and quality to the project – making it more competitive and attractive for funders.
- Flexibility – Nonprofits can be more nimble, less risk adverse and adapt more quickly to issues on the ground. Sometimes it is good to let them carry the ball in leading the project.
But Take Care – it is important that the partnership is a win-win for the nonprofit. The proposed project must fall within the organization’s mission and contribute to its bottom line. The last outcome anyone wants is the destabilization or loss of a nonprofit partner. Building the capacity of the nonprofit through your partnership assures a stronger and willing partner for future endeavors.