Be an effective matchmaker
Alice Korngold, author of Leveraging Good Will: Strengthening Nonprofits by Engaging Businesses, provides illustrative examples and real-life success stories to show how several nonprofits have transformed their organizations through partnerships with businesses.
Her book is a how-to guide that gives readers step-by-step advice on how to navigate the issues that arise when forming partnerships, including creating an effective match between a nonprofit and business; making the translation from the business world; realigning the board structure and composition so that it can effectively address contemporary issues; choosing and nurturing strong board leaders; and creating an effective strategic plan.
Creating an Effective Match between a Nonprofit and Business
An effective matchmaker is key to helping nonprofits find strong business leaders to serve on their boards, as well as helping business leaders find a board that best fits the needs and interests of their company. When properly matched, board members and other volunteers can help strengthen a nonprofit and make it more successful, while at the same time satisfy the need of the volunteer to make a valuable contribution to the community. Matchmakers should take the following steps to ensure a good match between a volunteer candidate and an organization:
Conduct a needs assessment of the nonprofit.
Interview each candidate.
Respect the nonprofit’s right to choose its volunteers.
Train board candidates
Provide complementary board consulting services.
Business leaders will be effective in the nonprofit world only when they take the time and effort to learn about the nonprofit sector’s unique qualities, the specific cause they have chosen, and their role as board members. Conversely, nonprofit leaders need to be open to new perspectives that may at first be alien to the way they are used to doing business. Korngold lists 10 key factors found in successful partnerships, including:
Board members should have a personal passion for the mission of the nonprofit.
Volunteers should respect the difference between mission-related and profit-oriented organizations.
Board members should understand the financial model and board culture of the nonprofit.
Board members must understand the complexities of measuring success.
Boards need to assess the skills, experiences, and relationships of their members.