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.


Stakeholders: Take advantage of your full team to generate partnership success

May 29, 2014

Part 17 in the Win-Win for the Greater Good series

Wikipedia defines a stakeholder as: “Any person, group, organization, or system who affects or can be affected by an organization’s actions.” Look around at all the people who are involved in your organization, both internally and externally: your employees, your customers, your shareholders, your vendors, your community, your business partners, government regulators, the media – these are your stakeholders and these are the people who really matter. These are the people you must protect, serve and value the most. When you focus your efforts on bringing value to all your stakeholders, you create the greatest beneficial impact for your organization. The converse is also true – if your stakeholders are not engaged, not valued, they have the potential to have a negative, and sometimes significant, impact on your organization.

Here is a diagram that illustrates the many stakeholders of a typical for-profit organization.

Stakeholders

The stakeholders for a nonprofit organization are very similar. Your shareholders are your donors, your customers are the people you serve, your business partners are your volunteers, etc.

As you see, there is an interrelationship, indeed interdependency, where all stakeholders are involved in a give-and-take relationship with the organization of which they are stakeholders. At first glance, it would seem that the relationships are primarily between the organization and the outer circle of their stakeholders. However, as this diagram reflects, the stakeholders themselves can have separate relationships between themselves, and thus impact and influence the entire organizational ecosystem.

When an employee believes that their organization has a particularly strong commitment to being a good citizen in their community, they will loudly and confidently communicate this belief. Consequently, the stakeholder and communication/effect cycle is potentially more interrelated. The ramifications can be significant, as any positive or negative influence a stakeholder has on other stakeholders can have a corresponding positive or negative influence on the organization itself.

The very good news is that when an organization is focused on the success of all stakeholders, all stakeholders are focused on the success of the organization. And when an organization is focused on not only benefiting all stakeholders, but additionally in serving the greater good through a well-designed and well-executed cross-sector partnership, your organization will begin to glow.

Your stakeholders will provide an honest critique because they have a vested interest in the success of your organization. They will provide creative input, business contacts, perhaps funding, and a myriad of other assets that will serve your cross-sector partnership endeavors and your organization well.

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


What to Avoid When Developing a Cause Marketing Campaign

April 10, 2014

Part 14 from the Win-Win for the Greater Good series

Even with the best intentions, sometimes among major players who should know better, cause marketing can go terribly wrong. The mantra of cause marketing, indeed of all cross-sector partnerships, is that the partners need to be well aligned. Their missions, their products or services and how they present their campaign to the public must make sense as a partnership. The public becomes skeptical when they smell or taste that the campaign is purely done to make money. Here are some bloopers.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Pothole Program
Recognizing the ubiquitous problem that many of our roads and highways have fallen into disrepair, KFC thought that it would be a good idea if they teamed up with several cities around the country and filled in those cities’ potholes. So the public would know who was making this generous donation, KFC painted their bright white logo on top of the freshly laid asphalt. As you see in this promotional photograph, “The Colonel” is pointing his cane at a recently paved, logo-covered pothole.

KFC Colonel

So we see potholes filled with oily black tar, covered with a KFC logo, which will be run over by cars, slowly but surely erasing the logo. This message has the unintended effect of linking KFC and its heavily-oiled, deep-fried chicken with steaming oily black tar and inadvertently, brings a whole new meaning to “road kill.”

I hate to pick on KFC, but if the bucket fits. After the above-described campaign, they developed a partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and produced a second highly-questionable campaign where they really stuck their wing in it.

KFC Buckets
“Buckets for the Cure” Campaign

KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure launched a campaign in which they printed pink KFC buckets with the breast cancer ribbon and then handed their customers the bucket full of fried chicken wings, legs and breasts. $.50 of the sale of each bucket went to the charity. What were they thinking? A respected nonprofit organization dedicated to education and research about breast cancer promoting deep-fried food, in pink buckets.

Yoni Freedhoff of Weighty Matters said: “So, in effect, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is helping to sell deep-fried fast food and, in so doing, help fuel unhealthy diet and obesity across America, an odd plan given that diet and obesity certainly impact on both the incidence and recurrence of breast cancer.”

What was this campaign really all about? Yes, money. KFC donated more than $4.2 Million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest single donation in organization’s history. Roger Eaton, President of KFC Corporation said, “This was a campaign that allowed our customers to fill up their stomachs and their hearts at the same time.” Needless to say, this campaign caused a media and consumer controversy which, if only briefly, damaged the credibility of Susan G. Komen… but it made lots of money.

The investor extraordinaire, Warren Buffett, once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” There is nothing worth the risk of destroying a hard-earned reputation.

The key points I would suggest you take away from this discussion on what not to do in cause marketing:
• Do absolutely nothing that will hurt your brand. Good reputations are hard to gain and much harder to regain if lost.
• Never be just about the money; greed is ugly and hard to hide.
• Always put the cause first, which will gain attention, loyalty and finally, financial success.
• Be unique! Stand out from the crowd! Don’t be a chicken! (sorry)

Wrapping Up
Cause marketing comes in all shapes and sizes and can be an exceptionally effective fund development and brand awareness-generating program because it:
• Leverages the marketing clout, assets, intelligence and connections of organizations from different sectors
• Focuses on doing good, and the public responds very well to organizations doing good
• Motivates your employees, customers and all stakeholders of your organization
• Attracts media attention…for free!
• Generates sales and raises donations
• Delivers what one organization can’t possibly do alone

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information and to view Win-Win for the Greater Good.


How to make Cause Marketing work for your organization

April 2, 2014

Part 13 from the Win-Win for the Greater Good series

6. Cause marketing Definition

Cause marketing is a specialized subset of cross-sector partnerships, and like all cross-sector partnerships, cause marketing is a partnership between two or more sectors. Though in cause marketing, the partnership is primarily between nonprofit and for-profit organizations and is primarily about marketing, sales, fund development and increasing brand awareness. Cause marketing has grown by leaps and bounds, and in 2013 an estimated $1.78 billion was spent in North America alone on cause marketing campaigns.

Cause marketing is a marketing campaign with specific strategic goals and objectives. It is not an event, sponsorship or one-time project and certainly not philanthropy. You will find as we explore further into this area that a well-strategized and well-developed cause marketing campaign will bring you many of the benefits we have discussed in cross-sector partnerships.

While there are many definitions of cause marketing, the following is how I prefer to define it:
Cause marketing is a partnership between two or more nonprofit and for-profit organizations whereby each party receives benefit toward their individual marketing objectives, while striving through their combined resources to create a greater good.

Let’s break this definition down to see why this particular description is a bit more comprehensive, and possibly more demanding among others available, yet touches upon the foundational elements of highly successful cause marketing campaigns.

Partnership: Going into the partnership, both sides should come together as equals. This equality is necessary for a fair, trusting and successful working partnership. Without this trust, without this focus on true partnership, your campaign is dead in the water before it’s launched.

Two or more: In most cases, a cause marketing partnership is between two partners, but as we have seen, sometimes partnerships can have three and even four sectors involved. And sometimes, even multiple partners within sectors. Bringing multiple partners together can leverage the success of the marketing objectives. So don’t limit your partner opportunity thinking. More may be better, or maybe not, based on your marketing strategy and campaign needs.

Individual marketing objectives: All sides may be approaching this partnership with very different marketing objectives and internal agendas. This is to be expected. Having clear communication and understanding about these separate agendas and objectives and then working toward the benefit of all partners will greatly enhance the overall success of your cause marketing campaign.

Combined resources: Possibly more than in any other marketing or promotional endeavor, the successful execution of your cause marketing strategy and resulting campaign creates a whole far greater than the sum of its individual parts. You just can’t possibly accomplish alone what you can do working together for your mutual success.

Create a greater good: This is the part of my definition that seems to be left out in every other definition I’ve ever seen. However it is this focus on the greater good that sets the foundation for your successful campaign. Focusing on the greater good is the key ingredient that will motivate all partners and stakeholders involved in your campaign. The greatest impact, the real magic, comes when your campaign focuses on the people, issues or environment that will benefit from the campaign:
• Those whose lives will be saved because they are now prepared for an emergency
• The women and men in the future who will not get breast cancer because of the research you are helping to fund
• The homeless who will be given shelter
• The children who will be saved from starvation
• Addressing serious environmental situations

This is the greater good. You can address any nonprofit’s cause, but to be optimally successful, you must focus on who or what will benefit from your effort. Nonprofits as such are not causes in and of themselves, but facilitators that bring much-needed services and support to the cause, which of course, is the people, environment or social issues themselves…the greater good.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information and to view Win-Win for the Greater Good


Yes, you can achieve nearly 70 benefits through cross-sector partnerships

March 27, 2014

Part 12 from the Win-Win for the Greater Good series

As we discussed in the last blog, nonprofits can receive 31 distinct benefits by working in partnership with for-profit organizations, and the number keeps growing. And for-profit organizations can receive 38 distinct benefits in such cross-sector partnerships. Now that’s a heck of a lot of benefits, and far more than most people would ever imagine.

Let me list just the top 10 benefits here and the complete listing of all 69 benefits can be found in the free Resource Center at http://www.bruceburtch.com.

Top 10 benefits for-profit organizations receive from partnership with nonprofit organizations

Note: These are not in any particular order, other than increasing sales, which is nearly always noted as number one.

1) Increase sales of products or services
2) Increase employee engagement, job satisfaction and reduce turnover
3) Increase customer and brand loyalty
4) Attract the best employees through community involvement
5) Increase community goodwill by having your leadership and organization recognized for the good they create in society
6) Increase shareholder return
7) Reach new markets and new customer demographics
8) Increase employee skill development, team-building and leadership skills
9) Draw media attention and coverage for free
10) Attract new business partners and relationships

Nonprofits are right behind with the potential to have at least the 31 benefits – those we have discovered so far. Here are the top 10 benefits nonprofits can receive.

Top 10 Benefits Nonprofits Receive From Partnering With a For-Profit Organization

1) Increase funding
2) Connect to new business partners and strategic relationships
3) Receive pro bono services
4) Attract loaned executives
5) Attract in-kind donations (equipment, furniture, computers, software, etc.)
6) Provide professional development for employees
7) Attract new volunteers
8) Provide volunteer management
9) Increase media coverage and improve media relationships
10) Develop earned income opportunities

By The Way: Which Provides More Value: Money or Brains?

When considering a cross-sector partnership, not surprisingly, the first topic that seems to arise is money. How much should the nonprofit ask for or how much should the for-profit consider donating? While money usually enters the conversation at some point in a partnership discussion, it’s short-sighted to think that money is the only or even the best value to receive in a partnership. Quite simply: If you focus on money you may leave a lot of money/value/assets on the table, never to be seen again.

Karen Baker, California Secretary of Service and Volunteering, offers: “A million dollar value of brainpower is so much more helpful than a million dollars. I can find money. I look for talent and I mean top-shelf talent, which you can shop for when you’re shopping for public/private partnerships.”

This belief is echoed by Dannielle Campos, Senior Vice President and National Philanthropy Program Manager for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Dannielle said, “When working with a nonprofit it can’t be just about the dollars but also about the other human resource capital you can bring if that company is interested in making, really building a strategic partnership with a nonprofit in their community. The dialogue has to be bigger than the check and the nonprofits usually need more than just money.”

Here is the underlying secret to success of cross-sector partnerships: first seek brains…and the money will follow.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information and to view Win-Win for the Greater Good.


Achieve more benefits than you can possibly imagine through cross-sector partnerships

March 19, 2014

Part 11 from the Win-Win for the Greater Good series

From my experience, most people and the organizations they represent begin their exploration of a partnership with a fairly limited list of partnership goals. Usually the “ask” is fairly simple and straightforward. The nonprofit might approach a for-profit organization for a donation to a particular project or program, or to sponsor a table at their annual fundraising gala. The for-profit organization may be seeking to raise the morale of its employees by arranging a one-day event where the employees would volunteer at a local homeless dining room or shelter. The misconception here is that cross-sector partnerships are not about philanthropy, cash donations, “one day and done” volunteer events, or sponsorships such as a breast cancer 3-day event or pledge walk. By definition, a partnership is a relationship. Many times there are contractual stipulations, but in nearly all cases, the partnership is based on a relationship meant to be long-term, jointly beneficial with many linkages.

In my workshops, participants are asked to write down all the benefits they think a nonprofit organization can receive by working with a for-profit organization in a partnership. Then we flip the exercise around, and they write down all the benefits they think a for-profit organization can receive by working in partnership with a nonprofit organization. And what I have found is startling.

To the question of how many distinct benefits a nonprofit can receive from partnering with a for-profit organization, the answer is, at least as of this writing: 31 distinct benefits. And to the question of how many benefits a for-profit organization can receive in a partnership with a nonprofit organization: 38 distinct benefits. That is one heck of a lot of benefits for each partner to receive in a partnership. However, what surprises my workshop attendees the most is the fact that for-profit organizations can potentially receive more benefit than can nonprofits. Most people think it would be the other way around.
These benefits are the real “secret sauce” of my work. There is an extraordinary amount of benefit that can be achieved by all partners in a well-designed, trusting, objectives- driven, cross-sector partnership. This has been proven so often over the last 35 years that I can make the following statement with absolutely no reservations:

2. The Promise

An innovative public relations program, the most clever social media campaign, the funniest or most emotional advertisement, the deepest discount or the biggest sale, the largest benefit race or the most successful fundraising gala – none of these can come even close to the multiple benefits that come from a cross-sector partnership.

Rather than detail all 31 nonprofit benefits and the 38 for-profit benefits here, in the next part I’m going to list the 10 most important ones, at least in my opinion, from each category. The complete listing of all 69 benefits can be found in the free online Resource Center at http://www.bruceburtch.com. By the way, you may be able to add even more benefits for either list, and I ask you to email me personally with your discoveries.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information and to view Win-Win for the Greater Good.


How cross-sector partnerships built the first after-school program in San Francisco’s Tenderloin

February 25, 2014

Part 7

Tenderloin Children's Jungle Gym
(Photograph by Nita Winter)

Leadership San Francisco is a year-long program sponsored by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce that promotes civic engagement, made up of participants from the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors. Our forty-member class spent a day experiencing the crime-ridden San Francisco district known as The Tenderloin. Besides the proliferation of adult bookstores, strip clubs, bars and a significant amount of homeless people milling around the filthy streets, what struck us was the number of young children we saw using these streets, sidewalks and storefronts as their playground.

Motivated to do something, a couple members of our class met with San Francisco School Superintendent Ramon Cortines. He advised that “the most pressing need for these inner-city children was a safe, quiet, creative place to go after school.” We then approached Brother Kelly Cullen, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), a non-profit provider of low income housing, which owned a building on Eddy Street, dead center in The Tenderloin. Leasing a portion of the first floor of this building was Connie’s Bar, a seedy, prostitute-laden establishment with the sign posted prominently on the front door “No one under 21 allowed.”

I proposed to our class that we take over Connie’s Bar and turn it into a free educational, recreational and cultural center for the children of The Tenderloin. It was an idea so large and so ripe with challenge that it took nearly 5 meetings for our class to agree that we just had to do this. As the loudest proponent of this outrageous idea, I was chosen to spearhead the endeavor.

First we formed a partnership between Leadership San Francisco and TNDC. Seeking a prominent leader of the San Francisco business community, we enticed Holger Gantz, general manager of the Hilton Hotel and Towers, which bordered upon The Tenderloin to join our partnership. Holger enthusiastically led the fundraising drive which attracted Pacific Telesis, Koret Foundation, Gap, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, PG&E and many others. Additional members of the hospitality and construction industries and members of the general community rushed to join the effort. Together we did what no one thought was possible – in one year we raised over $200,000, secured the lease on Connie’s Bar, completely renovated the space, built a small children’s library, computer room, director’s office and play room. On July 13, 1993 the Tenderloin After-School Program opened.

Along the way, an astonishing level of media coverage and diverse public support was received – all on a volunteer basis. An editorial in the San Francisco Examiner summed it up nicely: “In the real world…progress, if any, is measured inch by inch through gauntlets of frustration, bureaucracy, broken promises and, of course, lack of money. So let’s congratulate the enthusiastic people of Leadership San Francisco ’92…and all who made this dream come true.”

President Bill Clinton, Senator Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan and many others wrote letters of commendation. President Clinton wrote, “These kinds of bold initiatives require a partnership between business community resources and local nonprofit experience.”

And today, rather than using peep show signs as their jungle gym, the children of the Tenderloin have a clean, safe place to go after school. That’s the very great news.

TASP B&W
(Photo courtesy of Tenderloin After-School Program)

Perhaps the biggest challenge for this project was bringing together a highly diverse partnership team. The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation owned the building that housed Connie’s Bar but was unable to provide further financial support. The Leadership San Francisco class of 1992 was a small volunteer group of young men and women who could work hard but who also lacked the financial wherewithal to undertake such a costly project. The low-income community surrounding the proposed after-school program strongly favored the opportunity to provide a safe, off-the-streets place for their children, but could not financially support the project.

The challenges of the Tenderloin After-School Program point out that there are often distinct differences between the business practices, philosophy and personalities of each person and each sector. Indeed, organizations and individuals coming together will have personal agendas that they bring to the partnership. These personal agendas can sometimes be negative. However, in most cases, addressing and respecting individual agendas and objectives can be quite positive for the partnership.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information.


Understanding the new normal in nonprofit/for-profit relationships

February 10, 2014

Part 3

It is abundantly clear that we live in a challenging time. In 2011 the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that the nation’s largest charities saw a decline of 11% in donations, greater than any in the past 20 years. And while some indications show that nonprofit funding is turning around, according to “Giving USA,” charitable giving grew less than one percent in 2012. Thousands of smaller nonprofit organizations are at high risk of closing down. This sad situation comes at a time when there is increasing demand for the social services these organizations provide.

The social support system is in trouble and those people it supports have nowhere to turn. Anne Wilson, CEO of the United Way of the San Francisco Bay Area, warned “the recession has severely compromised our community’s safety net.” As a moral public, we cannot let this safety net fail.

However, individual, corporate and foundation funders impacted by the decline of their income, sales or investment portfolios cannot, in many cases, maintain their past support levels when there is so much need. Tough decisions must be made – who to support and at what level. The desire to help must be tempered by financial reality.

The situation is serious and for many, this is entirely new territory. The time has passed for believing we can operate as we always have under “normal” circumstances because “normal” doesn’t exist anymore. The answers do not come from staying the course. The answers come in the realization that to weather this storm, the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors must find new approaches, proven techniques and new economic streams that will work, even in these challenging times.

The organizations that will lead the new normal are the ones that realize they need not and should not take on these challenges alone. As in the soccer ball story, there are astonishing opportunities for organizations that collaborate, indeed partner, with organizations in other sectors. These organizations will lead their industry and their community in doing good. These are the organizations and people who will attract the most publicity, drive new sales or donations, increase their brand recognition and create the greatest goodwill.

The management of these more enlightened organizations are not afraid to share and not afraid to partner with other sectors. They’re not the ones who work in silos, treasuring their own personal power rather than the much greater power of the collective body. They will stand firm against those afraid of this new collaborative thinking. The irony is that the leaders and organizations who want to stay the course may lose market share and profitability, may demoralize employees and all stakeholders by their myopic focus on their organization and their bottom-line.

This is not a time for business as usual. Now is the time to take full advantage of multi-benefit cross-sector partnerships focused on the greater good. This is the new normal and it’s win-win.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information.


35 years of experience offered to you free of charge

February 4, 2014

Part 1

Why I Wrote Win-Win

Having spent more than 35 years deep in the trenches of developing cross-sector partnerships and cause marketing campaigns with the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors, I have learned what works and what doesn’t. I have developed partnerships – from a local two-person art program, a three-county children’s magazine, regional and national campaigns for Fortune 500 corporations, to cause marketing for an international sports organization, and all sizes and variations in between. I have experienced people in all types of organizations working together. And through it, all I have developed a step-by-step, proven process to planning and implementing successful cross-sector partnerships.

Beginning with my first job at Cedar Point, the world’s largest pure amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, where I developed a relationship with the state-sponsored Ohio Travel Council, I discovered the many benefits of bringing different sectors together in a mutually rewarding relationship. A few years later, I was hired by Marriott Corporation as Public Affairs Manager and given the task (at age 25) to design the opening promotion of its largest project in history: the family entertainment center Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. It was here where I conceived and directed my first comprehensive cross-sector partnership campaign, which I define as a partnership between two or more partners from the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors, with the March of Dimes. This campaign raised $2.5 million (and in 1976 that was a lot of money!), 40% more than ever been raised by the March of Dimes Chapters West.

BIG Cross-sector partnership revised

Through the challenges, opportunities and understanding gained through this relationship, the main theme of my career was set: cross-sector partnerships provide more benefit to all the partners than each could have ever accomplished alone.

From those early experiences and beyond, in my work as Public Relations Director of the United States Olympic Committee, to the founding of The William Bentley Agency, an integrated public relations/marketing agency, to the honor of serving as director of marketing & communications for the American Red Cross (San Francisco) Bay Area chapter, to my current role as Founder/CEO of Bruce W. Burtch, Inc., a cross-sector partnership consulting and training firm, each role and relationship along this path have created a foundation of knowledge that I wanted to share.

I wrote this guidebook because I have seen thousands of organizations from all sectors struggling through the recent economic times. I have seen and still see a lot of pain and a need for help and real answers. Yet I know from experience that there is an extraordinary amount of opportunity lying in wait for the right combination of partners, on any issue, in any sector, in any small town or metropolitan city, in any corner of the world. Cross-sector partnerships can be extraordinarily successful when these partners join together for their individual and mutual success, while focusing on creating benefit for the greater good.
Win-Win for the Greater Good is a guidebook, not an overview, not a nice collection of stories. My goal is to take years of experience in developing partnerships between all sectors and provide you with the blueprint, the materials and the tools that will guide you in developing highly successful, highly profitable cross-sector partnerships. Here you will find information from the very basic to more challenging concepts. Each reader comes to this guidebook with different experiences and different levels of expertise.

In 1978, I was asked by the president of a large foundation what I wanted to do with my life, and almost without thinking I said, “I want to do well by doing good”. He leaned back in his chair, laughed heartedly and replied, “I’ve never seen anybody do that before.” That very phrase to “do well by doing good” has been my personal mantra and foundation of my work from that minute forward. From the bottom of my heart I believe that doing good is the necessary prerequisite for doing well. Doing good benefits everything you do and everything you are. Doing good and doing well can best be accomplished through win-win partnerships.
And that’s why I wrote this book.

Please visit http://www.bruceburtch.com for more information


Interview with Mary Beth McMahon, CEO, Special Olympics of Massachusetts

August 1, 2013

small mary beth

Profiles in Partnership

A series on best practices and sound advice for developing and maintaining successful partnerships between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. I am re-publishing some of the very best interviews from this series.

When I first interviewed Mary Beth McMahon she was Executive Vice President, Special Olympics, Northern California and Nevada. Congratulations are in order as Mary Beth is now CEO, Special Olympics of Massachusetts.

Part 5, Final In Series

BB: What benefit does participation in your program give to the corporate volunteers or any volunteer for that matter?

MBM: I think it’s a better perspective on life. When you meet our athletes, they don’t have a lot of inhibitions, they’re just happy to be there and they’re just happy that you are there with them. I think it’s just a good look at community and humanity. They say to themselves: I had a good day today and the stuff that’s bogging me down at work shouldn’t probably bog me down as much. That’s the feedback we get. Especially first-time volunteers, they are always saying: This is not what I expected… it’s a better opportunity. There’s such a misconception of what to see out there and so when they finally go and see it, they realize these are very nice human beings that you’re doing something good for. Most people say to me: I got more out of today then I think I gave. So the more people can spread the word through a company and say, I was at a basketball event today for Special Olympics and it was the best thing I’ve ever been to…that will help us change the perception that we’re not a 1-day track meet.

BB: There would seem to be opportunities where they could learn within the Special Olympics environment, job skills that could be brought back to their work life.

MBM: Oh, definitely, we rely so heavily on volunteers. We have a board and we have an advisory board in all of our metropolitan areas that we’re looking for people to come on and help with the strategic direction of a specific metropolitan area. We also have what we call games management teams where you come in and you take on a project and you run our summer games. We also have volunteer leadership committees that come in and help run a program in a specific area. We actually would not exist without leadership volunteers.

We serve 17,500 athletes with 30 staff members across the geographic territory of Northern California and Nevada. We have over 10,000 volunteers that we rely on day in and day out to do the program that we do. I started as an area director which is kind of our local program coordinator, I was doing budgets, fundraising, I was selling, I was doing things that were so out of my comfort zone, but being trained and taught through my involvement with Special Olympics, as a volunteer.

BB: What advice would you offer to other nonprofit organizations about the benefits of working with a nonprofit organization?

MBM: One of the challenges we have as nonprofits is we’re all going after the same dollar. So there’re things that we could work together. A great example is our Safeway relationship, and we work with Easter Seals to make that happen. We service the same client base; we serve them in different manners. Easter Seals is a youth organization, cradle to grave organization, some of the Easter Seals athletes are our Special Olympics athletes, so we’re alike in that manner and so together we’re a better message of inclusion. I think there are a lot of similar organizations out there that you can serve and broaden your tentacles into the community and I think that’s important. In this day and age it’s better to work together than work apart.

BB: What would you say to for-profit organizations that are putting their toe in the water to get involved with a nonprofit?

MBM: Any partnership is going to bring a myriad of things to you; whether it’s employee morale issues, getting employees out, getting your brand out with another well-known brand. But I think most importantly, it is a way to achieve a lot of good in what we do and the most successful partnerships between nonprofits and profits are going to be the ones that have open minds of communication and understand each other’s business. Or if they don’t understand, at least help and understand, figure it out. That’s probably the key. A lot of for-profits still look at nonprofits as charities and I think they need to look at them as business partners. Because we’re not charities, we’re businesses who just are nonprofit and I think if there was a lot more thought process on that aspect, there would be a lot more public/nonprofit partnerships.

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