Importance of Community Partnerships for Nonprofits

Community partnerships benefit both partners and strengthen the broader community. They also have the potential to grow and steer your organization in many different directions. The most successful nonprofits leverage their relationships to create community partnerships. Read more to learn the key features of successful community partnerships and how they can benefit your nonprofit.

4 minutes read
Importance of Community Partnerships for Nonprofits

Have you ever wondered how some nonprofits are lucky enough to get the most press, considerable sponsorships, and the largest grants?

Well, it’s not luck.

Nonprofits understand the importance of building relationships with donors, volunteers, staff, and board members. If you want more tips on how to cultivate these relationships, check out our blog here.

But the most successful nonprofits know how to leverage those relationships to create Community Partnerships. In this article, we will discuss different Community Partnerships you can form, how they can benefit your organization, and the best ways to build those relationships.

What are Community Partnerships?

Community Partnerships have the potential to grow by leaps and bounds and can steer the organization in many different directions. Often nonprofits will build partnerships with local businesses, media companies, schools, churches, synagogues, mosques, and even other charities.

The goal of these relationships is a partnership that benefits both sides and strengthens the broader community.

Community Partnerships for Nonprofits

Community partnerships can start with a personal, business relationship, or even an employee volunteer program. Regardless of how they begin, they should be structured to ensure each side knows and agrees to their role. Community partnerships take time to form, but they can grow to be some of the best funding opportunities for a nonprofit.

Why are these partnerships so important?

Strong community partnerships can lead to new funding opportunities for nonprofits. The following are just a few of the ways these partnerships can contribute to your budget and long-term goals.


Marketing is essential in getting the word out for a nonprofit’s events and programs. When planning an annual budget, development staff and board members will look for any opportunity to promote the organization without paying too much. Building a community partnership with your local media company is the perfect opportunity to share your story and upcoming events without paying through the nose.


Corporate Sponsorships

Quality corporate sponsorships can lead to great things – from improved events to boosted awareness to matching gift challenges, and beyond.

Without the right connections, however, the likeliness of getting noticed by a corporation is slim. Working with corporate sponsors can be a long-term effort, but it is worth the hard work. Cultivating these partnerships will take personal relationships with people already involved in your organization. Your staff, donors, volunteers, and board members all may have connections to a local business. For more tips on securing corporate sponsors, visit our blog.

Foundation Grants

It may surprise most nonprofits, but community partnerships can be crucial in finding grant funding. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “The Urban Institute surveyed 1,192 grantmakers, and sixty-nine percent reported they actively encouraged collaboration among grantees.”

As competition grows for grant funding, foundations and corporations are looking for nonprofits that have built relationships with other charities that have similar missions. Grantees are always looking at the best return on their investment, so they look kindly on organizations who have done the work to find other groups with the same goals.

How can you build a Community Partnership for maximum effect?

Nonprofits that form Community Partnerships can gain access to publicity, grant funding, and corporate sponsors, along with other opportunities.

These partnerships can take time to build, but with a strong base, knowledge of who you want to connect with, relationships with your donors, volunteers, and staff, and a clear goal, building these relationships will significantly benefit your nonprofit.

Start with your mission statement

Community Partnerships that focus on an organization’s mission statement can open new opportunities for funding that may be closed to a single nonprofit. When building these relationships, nonprofits should look at their own mission statement and ask who can help them reach that goal.

If you are having trouble with your current mission statement, visit our blog to learn How to Write an Awesome Nonprofit Mission Statement.

Building a partnership with other charities that have the same mission can help your nonprofit find more funding sources. They may be the best way to fulfill your organizations’ mission entirely.

Get help from your donors and volunteers to find new community partners

Businesses, schools, charities, and religious groups form the heart of every community. Within these groups are individuals that drive the community forward. Nonprofits are most successful when the relationships they build with donors, volunteers, staff, and board members also include the groups and organizations they are part of outside the nonprofit.

Donorbox includes a profile for each donor where you can add up to ten questions to learn more about your donors.

By creating a database of your donors and volunteers’ interests and encouraging them to use their connections and skills to benefit your nonprofit, you are opening new opportunities for funding and strengthening the bond the individual feels to your organization.

Community Partnerships for Nonprofits

It’s easy to overlook a younger student or employee of a local business because they are not a large donor. These youthful members of your community may be just what you need to get the word out about your organization. A potential board member may be unable to give as much as others personally. They may have more connections to local businesses because of the work they do within their own business.

Each donor and volunteer can help bring new resources and connections to your nonprofit. As you build and strengthen these relationships, give them more opportunities to make a difference in your organization. Include them in finding new community partners that can support your nonprofit.

Create a plan of action and state your desired outcomes

Community partnerships are for the long-term, and you should treat them like any professional relationship. When possible, create a contract that states each group’s role and the desired outcomes for the partnership. Make sure each partner understands the problem that needs to be solved. The solution must be agreed upon, the resources required, and what each organization will bring to the table.

As the partnership continues, collect data and examples of how the partnership is working or how it can improve. Continue to have open communication about the roles and duties of each partner. As the partnership grows and situations inevitably alter, implement, and update any changes to the strategy. nonprofit relations


Are you ready to be one of the lucky nonprofits that profits from Community Partnerships?

With a clear mission statement, strong relationships built within your organization, and a well-planned plan. These partnerships can bring new resources and opportunities to raise more funds and achieve your organization’s goals.

As you continue to look at how these Community Partnerships can help your organization, visit our blog for more tips on strengthening your nonprofit, and check out Donorbox to make your online fundraising easier.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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