The Partnership Prize: Moving and Inspirational

December 6, 2014

Once in a while you are privileged to be involved in event that is both meaningful and inspirational. Such was the unique Partnership Prize award ceremony on November 21, held at the Marin Country Club in Novato, California. For many years I have dreamed of holding this program, and in partnership with NorthBay biz magazine, we unveiled the first Partnership Prize to room packed full of senior executives from the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors in Northern California.

Capture

I created the Partnership Prize to recognize and reward exemplary cross-sector and intra-sector partnerships focused on the greater good. And importantly, to have this competition, and especially the winning partnerships, stimulate new partnerships and provide excellent role models for other organizations to realize the economic and social impact that can come through well-designed, well-executed cross-sector and intra-sector partnerships.

A few quotes we received following the event:

“The announcements of the spectacular (no other word) organizations, companies, government, educational partnerships has me hopeful for our country and our citizens. Today was inspirational in so many facets.” Sherri Lewis Wood, Founder, One Warm Coat

“Congratulations and a huge bouquet of thanks to Bruce and NorthBay Biz, for the incredible Partnership Awards meeting and awards ceremony. I felt so privileged to be in the same room with so many amazing people whose business and social partnerships were represented. Congratulations to all the winners.” Susan L. Miller, Sponsor Development Manager, Kid Scoop News

“It was not only amazing to hear what had been accomplished and is being accomplished, but it was also moving and inspirational.” Gerri Alaniz, Alaniz Marketing

The inaugural Partnership Prize presented awards in eight categories of cross-sector partnerships (partnerships between nonprofit, for-profit, education or government sectors) and intra-sector partnerships (nonprofits working with nonprofits.)

The 2014 Partnership Prize winners are:

Cross-sector partnership with more than 50 employees:
Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition
Family Justice Center Sonoma County

Cross-sector partnership with less than 50 employees:
Kid Scoop News and Sonoma Raceway
Bellam Self-Storage and the San Rafael Clean Campaign

Grand prize for the most exemplary cross-sector partnership:
SchoolsRule Marin

Nonprofit with nonprofit partnership:
Warm Wishes and MarinLink
The Gasser Foundation and Sustainable Napa County

Grand Prize for the most exemplary nonprofit with nonprofit partnership:
Homeward Bound and Whistlestop

The 2014 Partnership Prize called for nominations from Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California. The competition was both fierce and exceptional. I and all involved were overwhelmed by the caliber of the nominated partnerships and the extraordinary good being done in our communities.

Congratulations to our winners! And let’s keep this warm spirit of partnership alive and well into 2015 as we work together for the greater good.


The Partnership Prize Launches in San Francisco’s North Bay, Call for Nominations

October 17, 2014

hands only

We are very pleased to announce the “Call for Nominations” for the first-of-its-kind Partnership Prize. The Partnership Prize will recognize and reward exemplary partnerships which have been developed in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, including Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties. The Partnership Prize is designed to stimulate future partnerships through the networking of nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Cross-sector partnerships are partnerships between two or more partners from the for-profit, nonprofit, education or government sectors which benefit the business or mission objectives of the individual partners while collectively focusing on creating a greater good. To be considered, these partnerships must not be purely philanthropic, such as solely giving or receiving financial support. Exemplary partnerships are those which have created multiple linkages, activities and relationships between the partners, preferably over an extended period of time, and which have demonstrated measurable economic, social or environmental value.

We will be providing eight awards*:

1) The Grand Prize: The most exemplary cross-sector partnership in the North Bay (1)
2) Cross-sector partnerships between organizations over 50 employees (three prizes, one each in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties)
3) Cross-sector partnerships between organizations under 50 employees (three prizes, one each in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties)
4) Nonprofit with Nonprofit organizations of any size (1)
*These are not monetary awards. Award plaques will be given and there will be extensive promotion of the winners through NorthBay biz magazine and other media and promotional outlets.

Here is the link to the nomination form. http://www.northbaybiz.com/Glow_Your_Biz.php The deadline for nominations is Oct. 29.

The Partnership Prize awards ceremony will be part of the second annual Glowing Your Business partnership workshop on Friday, November 21st. Here is the link to the Glowing Your Business workshop information: https://www.northbaybiz.com/media/Glowing_Event_2014.pdf

While the first Partnership Prize is focused on Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties of California, we envision this important program to be greatly expanded in the future.

For further information, please contact me directly at bruce@bruceburtch.com or 415-454-0839

Thank you.

Bruce Burtch


How to Sustain a Cause Marketing Partnership

September 18, 2014

Please enjoy this article I wrote, published in the September issue of IABC’s Communications World magazine.

So you found the perfect partner organization for your cause marketing campaign. You self-assessed without mercy. You specified what you’re bringing to the table, researched closely-aligned organizations, compared objectives, and secured a partnership that’s a win-win for everyone.

Nice job!

But before you start handing out the cigars, it’s important to set your partnership up for long-term success. How? By:
•Establishing and maintaining trust.
•Exhibiting flexibility and open communication.
•Specifying measurement criteria.
•Considering scalability and growth potential.

These partnership sustainability safeguards are critical, not only to new partnerships but also to those that have been chugging along for a while.

Build trust and be transparent

All successful relationships, including cause marketing partnerships, are based on trust—and nothing forms trust faster than telling the truth. This means all partners openly discuss their goals, vulnerabilities and needs, and honestly address hidden agendas before they cause problems.

Transparency is vital for effectively engaging both your target market and your partner organizations. A good example of an organization that requires stringent transparency in all of their cause-related partnerships is the American Red Cross, whose required donation language for any cause marketing donation program reads:

“XYZ will donate to the American Red Cross, including the amount of the donation as a flat fee (e.g. $1 for every shirt sold) or a percentage (e.g. 25% of the retail sales price) and the time frame (e.g. from September 1, 2014 until August 31, 2015).”

This kind of full transparency creates trust with the public—and with all partners.

Remain flexible with open communication

Staying on schedule and on target is important, but when a new opportunity appears, stay open-minded about it, and help others in your partnership to do so as well. It could be a special event, a major media interview, or an entirely “off-the-wall” promotional idea. It could be that a new partner wishes to join your campaign. Explore these potential opportunities, while keeping in mind your resources and priorities.

Open communication is key as well. If you’re the point-person from your organization, it’s your job to keep all of your stakeholders fully informed of all aspects of the partnership, whether good or not so good. Keep and publish minutes of your meetings, set regular times to convene as a full partnership team, and when issues, disagreements or other challenges arise, communicate your concerns and work them out as a team as soon as possible. In nearly all cases, overcoming challenges together strengthens the partnership and the individual relationships.

Flexibility, openness, and clear communication will keep your partnership on solid ground.

Set up measurement criteria

Early in your partnership development, collaborate with your partners to determine which partnership goals, both individual and collective, are most important, and create concrete, measurable criteria for evaluation. For example:
•Does one partner want a facility built by a certain date? A specific amount of increased funding or donations raised? Certain pro bono services?
•Does a partner want a certain number of volunteers recruited? A particular number of volunteer hours provided?
•Is a partner expecting a certain value in media exposure, community goodwill or new strategic relationships?

To be most effective in evaluating your partnership’s progress, establish starting benchmarks using specific metrics and measurement processes to use throughout the campaign.

Here’s an example: For its 2006 Prepare Bay Area partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter used as a starting benchmark its survey finding that only 6% of San Francisco Bay Area residents were prepared for a major disaster. At the beginning of each year of the three-year campaign, the partnership surveyed its target audiences to understand clearly where the initiative stood against its goals. When they hit 26% prepared at the end of the campaign, they had some serious, verifiable bragging rights.

Mobile-Bill-Boards-2

Mobile billboards like this one in front of San Francisco’s Ferry Building showing the potential devastation of an earthquake were part of the Prepare Bay Area campaign, a partnership between the American Red Cross and utility company Pacific Gas & Electric.

Measurable benchmarks and ongoing monitoring allow you to know where you are, see whether you are on the right path to success, and tweak your campaign if needed.

Scalability and growth potential

The clearest indication of a successful partnership is when all partners want to continue their relationship. Following the success of Prepare Bay Area, PG&E and the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter again teamed up to expand the preparedness program through a broader Ready Neighborhoods initiative.

In order to deepen their impact by scaling the program out beyond the Bay Area and across the state of California, PG&E more than doubled its original US$1 million over three-years financial commitment–and has continued to partner in this important campaign ever since.

The recognition PG&E and the American Red Cross chapters have received due to their Ready Neighborhoods partnership has been tremendous: Last year, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency presented these organizations with its prestigious Community Preparedness Award in a high-profile ceremony and community event.

Patience

The most successful partnerships do not hit their stride until the second or third year. But if you’ve built trust and confidence, remained flexible and communicative, measured your pre-set criteria and kept your eye on future growth, you’ll have a strong support system of energized team members and partners who want to keep it going, establishing a continual cycle of creating a greater good.


Special Discount Opportunity for Win-Win for the Greater Good

September 2, 2014

Now also available on Kindle

Final Cover for web

I am thrilled with the exceptional testimonials and reviews for Win-Win for the Greater Good, the most comprehensive “how-to” guidebook on the development of cross-sector partnerships – partnerships between the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors.

Called a “must-read for any organization” by Howard Behar, President (retired) Starbucks Coffee, Win-Win provides a proven-effective 12-step process based on over 35 years of partnership development on the local, regional and national levels.

To receive a 20% discount ($4) off the $19.95 retail price of the book, visit http://www.createspace.com/4384579 and in the checkout process put the following code in the box: JHHVKMHW.

Casey Sheehan, CEO, Patagonia stated, “Win-Win for the Greater Good provides the how-to blueprint for organizations of any size any sector to build highly productive partnerships. It reveals the true essence of success-focusing on the business objectives of your partner, while striving together to create a greater good.”

Peggy Duvette, former Executive Director of WiserEarth
said, “Worth its weight in fundraising goal. Win-Win for the Greater Good turns the tables on traditional approaches to nonprofit/for-profit funding relationships. It challenges you to build a business value proposition and provides 30 ways to beneficially impact your organization through partnerships, while greatly increasing your service impact.”

“Win-Win, lucidly captures Bruce Burtch’s decades of practitioner wisdom on cross-sector partnerships. The book is filled with rich examples and insightful practical guidance on how to build powerful partnerships. Read it and learn from a master!” James E. Austin, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School.


The Critical Importance of Alignment

July 30, 2014

Part 19 from the Win-Win for the Greater Good series

Yesterday I gave a webinar which emphasized the importance of developing the best alignment between partnering organizations. Of all the positive feedback, this one made my day.

“OMGoodness! Thank YOU! The best hour I have spent online in years. Incredibly relevant and helpful.”
Tammy Flynn, Director of Philanthropy
Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia

OK, so I’m bragging a bit but the timing couldn’t be better, because the next installment in the Win-Win for the Greater Good series is about the critical importance of alignment.

Before we start off on our exploration for partners, there is a critical concept – alignment- that must be well understood. The correct alignment between your organization and a potential partner is of paramount importance and must be the filter through which all of your discussions, meetings and decisions are viewed. By alignment I mean that when put side by side, your brand aligns with their brand and your values with their values so that this partnership is intellectually, emotionally and practically compatible. It must make sense to the partners and especially to the public. This critical need for the proper partnership alignment is also referred to as “brand fit.”

As we saw in what I feel was the stunningly poor example of brand fit between Kentucky Fried Chicken and Susan G. Komen in the “Buckets for the Cure” campaign, the wrong product or service alignment can be disastrous for a cross-sector partnership or cause marketing campaign, and more importantly, to an organization’s reputation.

In your Assessment Process, you looked at your brand, what your organization stands for and the reputation of your company in the marketplace. This is the starting point of your alignment process. Appropriate brand fit is fairly obvious. If you are a grocery store, for example, an appropriate brand alignment would be to work with your local food bank or a homeless shelter. If you are a construction or hardware supply company, Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together would provide outstanding alignment because your business expertise, employee talents and your knowledge of construction materials are needed in the building or remodeling of homes.

This alignment creates a natural flow when integrating the mission and cause of your partners into your own organization’s culture. It just makes sense – to you, to your organization, to your partners, to the public – to all you wish to attract to the cause.

Barefoot Wines

A perfect example of excellent brand fit or alignment is the partnership between Barefoot Wine and the Surfrider Foundation, whose mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches. Together they created the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project to help keep America’s beaches “barefoot friendly.” The partnership hosted beach cleanups and restoration events coast-to-coast, utilizing volunteers to clean the shorelines, plant native greenery and collect litter along the beaches. At the end of each event, volunteers enjoyed Barefoot Wine and surf-inspired food. Aligning a brand like Barefoot Wine with the surfing-originated and water-focused Surfrider Foundation is an example of excellent alignment. Even the events themselves emphasized this barefoot-friendly fit.

The campaign won the Cause Marketing Forum’s 2012 “Halo Award” for Best Environmental or Animal Campaign. And while the campaign and both organizations are national in scope, this type of cause-related campaign could just as well have been orchestrated with any community park, beach or swimming pool partnering with local businesses related to water sports. It’s about finding the right idea and the right brand fit.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information about cross-sector partnerships and Win-Win for the Greater Good.


Cause marketing can boost your brand perception, but cross-sector partnerships can elevate your business

July 15, 2014

Article in Marketing News, American Marketing Association, July 15, 2014

AMA

Key Takeaways

• Cause marketing is a tactic in which a for-profit company and a nonprofit organization form a partnership to boost sales, donations and brand awareness.

• Outdoor gear retailer Patagonia has partnered with a number of nonprofits to ensure corporate giving is a key part of its overall marketing strategy.

• Success comes through a step-by-step approach, leveraging what you already have with the right partners in a combined effort to create a greater good.

Read the full article: https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingNews/Pages/good-business.aspx

Cause marketing—the partnership of a for-profit company and a nonprofit organization intended to increase sales, donations and brand awareness—has proven to be a highly successful marketing tactic for companies such as General Mills, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble, to name just a few, but it’s starting to wear a little thin with consumers. When every can of soup or box of cereal is printed with a “Box Tops for Education” logo, the effect becomes progressively diluted.

But cause marketing is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There’s a much larger opportunity for altruistic and philanthropic brand alignments with cross-sector partnerships in which multiple linkages are developed between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. The for-profit organization may provide the nonprofit with volunteers, in-kind donations, paid advisers with specialized skills, event sponsorships, board members, knowledge and best practices, office space and more. The nonprofit organization, meanwhile, may provide volunteer opportunities to enhance the for-profit employees’ job satisfaction and a deeper understanding of the needs of those employees’ community, as well as coaching and leadership experience, tax-deductible donation opportunities and much more.

more….


Do you really know what you want to do in a partnership?

July 10, 2014

Part 18 from the Win-Win for the Greater Good series

Why what how

Before beginning the deep dive into what your organization would like to do through a cross-sector partnership and then defining your key objectives, there is a critical first step – asking the question:Do you know your WHY? The products or services your organization provides is the what you do. The manner in which you deliver these products or services to your customers or the public is how you do that delivery. However, the most important question that you and your organization must determine is why you do what you do. The why must come first. The why is your driving motivation. It’s what inspires you, your employees, your donors, indeed all your stakeholders, to take interest in your organization and to support it wholeheartedly. Without a strong and articulated why, you are just another nuts-and-bolts organization (in any sector), and one of the very many.

The similarities to what we have described as a glowing business are obviously related to the why. Glow starts from within, and radiates outwardly, and so does the why. You can’t have a glowing organization unless all your stakeholders are inspired and motivated, thrilled to be involved and thrilled to tell others about this involvement. My belief is that the best and maybe the only way to create this glow, this why, is by embedding a cause consciousness into the very essence and culture of your organization. When your organization stands not just for your own benefit, but far more importantly, for what you can do for others and to create a greater good…that’s the glow, that’s the why.

Simon Sinek wrote the terrific book Start With Why. He writes, “By WHY I mean, what is your purpose, cause or belief?” And further on, “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” And my favorite line: “… all those who share the organization’s view of the world will be drawn to it and its products like a moth to a light bulb.”

With the understanding of your why firmly in place, now you can move on to what you want to do. We have explored the multiple benefits that can come from a cross-sector partnership. But practically speaking, your organization must choose the specific objective or a very short list of priorities that are the highest priorities. For example, you may decide that your top priority is to raise the sales revenue of a particular product or service, provide employee volunteer opportunities in your community or to open up a new store or business location. If you are a nonprofit, your primary objectives may be to increase your donor base, fund and open a new project or program, attract corporate volunteers, develop an earned income opportunity, etc.

To assist in determining your “What do you want to do?” process, you may wish to utilize the two “Top 10” lists: Benefits a for-profit organization can receive by working with a nonprofit organization and Benefits a nonprofit organization can receive by working with a for-profit organization, provided earlier in this book, or preferably, review the complete lists of benefits which can be found in the Resource Center at http://www.bruceburtch.com. Now you have over 30 distinct benefits your organization may be able to receive in a cross-sector partnership and these will serve as a guide in determining which objectives would have the greatest positive impact on the needs, challenges or opportunities facing your organization. When developing your strongest case for what will work best for your organization, and in due course what will provide the best partnership opportunity, you need to select from these ideas or objectives your top three, and then very clearly, define and agree upon your number one objective.

By defining your top objectives, and especially by selecting one as your top objective, you significantly increase your potential for a successful project or campaign. If you try to address too many objectives you will weaken the energy, resources and talent, and potentially not accomplish any of your objectives.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information about cross-sector partnerships and Win-Win for the Greater Good.