11 ways for-profit, nonprofit missions must align

What makes a successful partnership in corporate philanthropy, from the company’s perspective? The most common element of a successful partnership — cited by 77 percent of firms in a recent survey — was that an organization’s mission is aligned with the company’s philanthropic focus.

Xiaonan (Coco) Kou presented the findings at a session titled, “Giving Beyond Borders: A Study of Global Giving by U.S. Corporations” during the 26th annual symposium at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, “Taking Fundraising Seriously Timeless Values in a World of Change.”

Other key elements cited by the 53 companies in the survey included:

  • Effectiveness and/or efficiency in producing results, 68 percent;
  • Geographic operations align with company’s operations, 51 percent;
  • Causes are aligned with company’s business goals, 40 percent;
  • Accountability, 25 percent;
  • Reputation, 17 percent;
  • Connections to company’s stakeholders; 9 percent and,
  • Size and capacity, 6 percent.

Kou, research project coordinator and doctoral candidate at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, relayed other factors that lead to successful partnerships that were raised during company interviews:

  • Stay open to new ideas and possibilities;
  • Remain flexible;
  • Build trust and honesty; and,
  • Adopt a collaborative approach.