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No matter what kind of business you are, creating, building, and maintaining strong partner relationships is at the core of every business. It can provide limitless opportunities, and create a solid foundation for the rest of your nonprofit organization. 


nonprofit relationship


Sounds easy enough right? Well the truth is, relationship building takes work. It requires consistent and transparent communication, along with a set of important character traits like empathy and respect. And it doesn’t take an extrovert to do it well! Simply utilizing your personality and showcasing your passion can go a long way in building your network. 


Here are a few things you can do to elicit the support of outside organizations and foster a strong relationship.  


1. Develop a shared vision

Partnerships are guided by a shared vision and purpose. When everyone is on the same page, you’re more likely to drive success and achieve desired goals. Alignment can also lead to improved coordination of members, programs, and policies. With a common vision, it’ll allow for more transparent, fluid communication.


2. Collaborative leadership

Strong leadership is critical for any organizational initiatives. And in a partnership/relationship, it’s important to share the responsibility in leading the charge. If one organization is doing more work than the other, it could result in a loss of trust. By allowing both partners to work collaboratively, you’ll be able to earn mutual respect, and work to each other’s strengths when achieving common goals. 


3. Shared culture and values

Similar to a shared vision, partners should be accepting of each other’s differences, and have an understanding of each organization’s values. It’s important for partners to have open discussions about their culture, so you can work towards identifying strengths and weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Partners who exhibit the same culture and values are more likely to develop long-lasting relationships.


4. Commitment

In order for a partnership to be successful, it requires dedication and commitment from both ends. Like any organization, those with unwilling participants and a lack of commitment will experience detriments when it comes to projects getting done in a timely and effective manner. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a clearly stated purpose, delegation of responsibilities, and task list should be agreed to before entering into a new partnership. As the relationship evolves, it’s important that partners work together to resolve any conflicts or issues that might arise with members.


5. Performance management

Successful partnerships should include structural org charts and management practices. Partners should have a variety of resources available to them, and members should show accountability for their actions. 

In all, the purpose of partnerships is to achieve more than individual organizations can achieve on their own. Building established partner relationships takes time, but can be done by creating the right framework, communicating effectively, sharing leadership, and working as a collective to achieve common goals.  


If you’re trying to navigate grant outreach in your organization, we’ve got your back! RBW Strategy provides a variety of services in grant consulting, including grant writing, prospect research, and more. Visit our services page for more info, and contact us today. 


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