Building Purposeful Partnerships: Start with Who

What if your nonprofit could do more than just get a one-time donation from a corporation? What if your nonprofit and the corporation could build a purposeful partnership aimed at having a greater impact on the world?

Over the past 30 years, corporations have damaged their reputation as good corporate citizens along with the public ‘s trust, as highlighted by several watershed moments including the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, the Enron and Arthur Anderson meltdown in 2001, and the financial crisis in 2008. While the public is often informed of the negative effects that corporations have on society, a growing sub-sector of companies have begun to authentically transform and work to improve social conditions through their day-to-day business operations. Since the publication of Michael Porter and Mark Kramer ‘s “Creating Shared Value” article in 2011, a transformation has taken place in the ever-evolving relationship between the private sector and nonprofits. In the past, most companies viewed their philanthropy primarily as a charitable tax deduction and a way to build their reputation as a “good community citizen”. Today, many companies have begun identifying opportunities for aligning their business to “solve” a social challenge.

This transformation has had a profound effect on the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits used to view corporations primarily as “funders” who provide donations to worthy causes. Now nonprofits can approach corporations with a desire to build partnerships to create deeper impact.


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