Pro Tips for Nonprofits: Partner up to stand out

Nonprofits consistently operate with limited resources needed to effectively market, outreach, and raise awareness for their cause.

In a recent study by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, 18% of nonprofits saw “small staff, transitions in staff” as one of their biggest challenges while 11% of nonprofits deemed “donor cultivation, acquisition, retention, [and] communications” as one of their biggest challenges.

Partnerships with other nonprofit and for-profit organizations can alleviate some of these issues as effective partnerships can serve as a "force multiplier.” The shared resources and ideas that accompany active collaboration can be a huge benefit in partnering with another nonprofit.

Additional benefits include the extra exposure, revenue, and number of potential volunteers that stem from building a corporate partnership. According to a study in the Journal of Business Research, 78% of Americans believe a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit company they trust makes a cause stand out.

A partnership between the Global Fund and Product Red, for example, has resulted in over $650 million being donated to support HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.

A couple of questions probably arise for nonprofit leaders when considering a partnership with another nonprofit: How will our organizations operate together? Will we compete for donations?  

These questions become much easier to answer if there are inherent synergies between the organizations. Identifying those synergies is critical before establishing any partnership as this ultimately minimizes any competition for funds.

But how do organizations find the right partner?

Nonprofits don’t have to go at their searches alone.

As we see in this week’s Cincy in the News, MadTree Brewing is spotlighted for staying true to their mission: supporting sustainability in the region and beyond. Through their involvement with 1% for the Planet, and on every can and packaging, the 1% for the Planet logo and mission is displayed with the words “Drink MadTree. Make an Impact.” MadTree works with local non-profits such as the Cincinnati ZooCincinnati ParksGroundwork Ohio River Valley and Wasson Way.

But MadTree doesn’t stop at monetary donations. They ask their staff to contribute a certain number of volunteer hours each year, and they have been known to shut down the taproom to plant trees with the staff, which encourages its employees to explore hobbies that align with their purpose.

This lead Brittany Frey, MadTree Production Manager, to start beekeeping last year. MadTree now has a beehive behind its production facility. Frey said it appears the bees will swarm this year and MadTree will likely have two hives this season.

The roots of sustainability reach MadTree’s taproom. For the past two years, MadTree and Catch-A-Fire Pizza have worked with GoZero Services to use 100% compostable material in the taproom. They avoided sending around 134,000 pounds of waste to a landfill last year. MadTree asks all outside caterers and private events to follow composting protocols.

To learn more about MadTree’s sustainability efforts, visit

In addition to our local COVID-19 coverage, Soapbox has partnered with other publications in their parent company, Issue Media Group, to address stories that matter to all of our communities. This article in High Ground is part of a four-part series offering helpful advice for nonprofit leaders and organizations from the folks at Duncan Williams Asset Management.

Authored by Proctor Ford, Duncan Williams Asset Management

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