Partnering with Another Nonprofit in a Community-Wide Giving Event

April 1, 2014

Preparing for our third year of an online community Giving Challenge supported by six foundations, we are looking forward to witnessing another outpouring of support for the causes near and dear to Southwest Florida.

The first year we embarked on this adventure together, a few participating nonprofits expressed some concern about the competitive nature of the Giving Challenge. The Leaderboard listing the names of all participating organizations and the total amount of dollars and gifts each raises can make the event feel a bit competitive.  Indeed, this lighthearted competition is what drives some people to give in the spirit of supporting their favorite nonprofit “team.”

Responding to the ideas of our nonprofit colleagues, last year we tried something new. A grant incentive of $5,000 was offered to the nonprofits that demonstrated the best nonprofit partnership. The outcome of this mini-contest within the Giving Challenge was determined by an independent panel of judges.

We did not know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised with the diverse examples of collaboration. Twenty of the 287 nonprofits participating in the Giving Challenge chose to work with another organization.

In the 2014 Giving Challenge, we are once again encouraging nonprofits to find creative ways to partner. We hope an expanded group will pair up and work together, based on clear goals they co-create for mutual benefit.  Other than the potential to receive a $5,000 grant, why might two nonprofits collaborate in a community-wide giving event?

Here are a few reasons:

  • Extend the reach of an existing program.
    Fuzion Dance Artists partnered with New Gate School in the 2013 Giving Challenge, teaching students modern dance by preparing them for a fun flash mob performance outside of Lakewood Ranch Cinemas to spread the word about their giving campaign. New Gate students had never received modern dance instruction, and Fuzion was able to extend the reach of its fine dancers to a student population.

  • Broaden understanding of your services to target audiences.
    SCOPE and Goodwill Manasota partnered in an unusual pairing led by canine ambassador Stella, a miniature dachshund who traveled all over town with organization representatives visiting with community leaders. The four-legged ball of happiness was leveraged as an opportunity to share information about the services of both organizations in a casual visit—a little pet therapy with a new purpose!

  • Fund a specific project that is mutually beneficial for each organization.
    Realize Bradenton and Manatee Players partnered in last year’s campaign to raise the funds for a curtain to dress the stage of the newly opening performing arts center. The success of the theatre has a direct relationship to the mission of Realize Bradenton, tasked with creating a vibrant downtown Bradenton.

As our judges look to this year’s potential winners, they will look at the strategy behind the partnerships: why two nonprofits decided to work together, how their partnership helps them achieve more success than they could on their own, and whether the partnership and its results carry promise for future possibilities–beyond the Giving Challenge.

Consider giving up the fear of “losing” your donors and imagine what might be possible through an unconventional approach, fundraising in collaboration with another nonprofit.  Our hope is that you will create a synergy expanding far beyond the walls of the Giving Challenge.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County




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