Empower Change: Master Non-Profit Partnerships

Written by: Ellie on February 16, 2024

What exactly is a non-profit organisation? 

It’s very easy to confuse non-profit organisations with charitable organisations, but there is a difference. While all charities are non-profit, this doesn’t mean they are “non-profit organisations”. 

Without getting too technical, charities gain a lot of advantages, such as being eligible for various tax exemptions. However, it comes with a lot of guidelines and restrictions on how you function as a charity and what charitable work you can do. Whereas a non-profit organisation faces fewer restrictions, and so can often be charitable in multiple ways. 

A non-profit organisation – such as a Community Interest Company (CIC) like InnovateHer, is a business. Instead of seeking profit, they strive to benefit a community or pursue a greater social purpose. In other words, a CIC works much like a limited company and so has a familiar framework. But any profit goes towards a greater cause, which can make it much easier for other companies to support their mission as it works on multiple fronts. 

What does it mean to be in a partnership?

In my previous blog, I talked about why to partner with InnovateHer. So rather than talking about the “why”, this time, I want to focus on the how. I don’t simply mean how to become an InnovateHer partner – that’s easy, as I’d direct you to their Corporate Partnerships webpage. I mean how to be an effective partner and make a difference in your own right. 

Partnering with a non-profit organisation isn’t just about donating to a good cause. That’s, of course, part of it, and many CIC’s couldn’t do their work without it. However, it should always be more than just a financial pledge. By partnering with a CIC, you are saying you support their mission. You’re saying that, as a company, you believe that what the non-profit does has value in making a better tomorrow. 

How to be a good partner with a non-profit?

The first step is being vocal about your partnership. Shout about it on social media, talk about it to other partners, make it a topic of conversation, and spread their mission. The more people that know about it, the more impact the non-profit organisation can have. For example, InnovateHer provides its partners with social media templates and graphics, as well as email footers that employees can use. Using resources like this is just one step to being a great partner. 

Another great way to be a good partner is by being present. If the non-profit organisation reaches out for volunteers, ensure someone from your organisation steps forward. Being present not only helps the not-for-profit organisation achieve its goals. It also shows the wider community that your organisation is actively supportive of the mission. Many CICs will have volunteer schemes such as InnovateHer’s ambassador programme. A programme where you can become a role model to inspire the next generation. Programmes like this are vital to making an impact. They are really easy to join and often also come with the perk of joining a community of like-minded people. 

Provisions from a Non-Profit

Some non-profit organisations provide additional services to their partners. In InnovateHer’s case it acts as another prong of their mission as they strive for a more inclusive tech industry.  InnovateHer does regular EDI health checks, hosts diverse community learning events, and runs virtual coffee morning meet-ups with partners to discuss current news topics. All whilst providing additional support in a partner’s EDI goals. 

Engaging in events and sessions run by a non-profit organisation is vital to being an incredible partner. As you take key learnings back to your company and continue to grow. It’s especially important when the non-profit organisation you are supporting is a social enterprise. This is because engaging with the community is a huge part of how they carry out their mission.

So, what exactly is the how? 

Partnering with a non-profit organisation isn’t just about donating money and calling it a partnership. It’s about supporting each other by being an active part of a community striving for change. You have to be the change you want to see by working in collaboration and by engaging with resources or events produced by your partner. Showing up and being present makes a difference as we take steps towards reaching goals and completing missions.

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