Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day! I definitely still have love on my mind.
Have you noticed that cause partnerships often follow the same progression as a new romantic relationship? At first, they are idealistic and hopeful. Then, after deeper dialogue and a number of experiences together, the partners get a truer sense of the real potential of the relationship – or may even decide to cut bait.
If you want to be “a cause partnership keeper” read on to make sure you are creating partnership fireworks.
Cause Partnership High Hopes (FIRST DATE)
At the beginning of any relationship, and cause partnerships are no exception, everyone is on their best behavior – happily showcasing their best attributes and downplaying less desirable elements. In this early stage, there is no shortage of daydreaming about what could be…from mouthwatering local-level brand experiences and impressive impact metrics to world-record fundraising campaigns (and long walks on the beach). Hope is in the air.
Pilot Projects, Deeper Understanding of Challenges & Opportunities (DATING)
There is a “getting to know you” period in cause partnerships, similar to dating, where more and more of the inner workings, unique dynamics and (gasp!) limitations of each (yes, “each”) partner are discovered. You like your odds, but only time will tell if this love connection will be worthy of a long term investment. Many cause partnerships never make it past the “dating” phase into long-term compatibility because they fail to recognize the importance of the following eight areas.
Eight Areas to Enhance Your Cause Partner Desirability (ANY RED FLAGS?)
- Expectations – Everybody’s Got ‘Em: What exactly are primary and secondary goals of both partners? Are you actively working towards them? You should be!
- Make the Connection Real for the Right People: Do target audiences feel the power of this connection at a personal-experience-level, on social media and in other communications? Are employees and supporters engaged in a meaningful way? Are you creating brand ambassadors through your programs?
- Planning: Has a thoughtful plan been architected? Or, is this a high-risk situation with regards to execution? Let us know if you’d like some help creating a strategic action plan.
- Pilot Projects: Pilot projects can be testing grounds that reveal the strengths, weaknesses and challenges of the particular partnership or program. Use them wisely.
- Execution: Are systems in place to support best practices execution and program compliance? Are you tracking performance metrics? Is this a good investment of time? Or, is this partnership a giant headache and human resources drain you can’t wait to unload?
- How’s Your Reach? If a national footprint was a selling point, are you activating the partnership in communities across the country to meet that expectation? We call this “local activation at scale” and our clients love the results. Time to scale up?
- Learn & Adapt: Is everyone getting their needs met? What are the areas that need improvement? What is your ROI on the partnership? How are the results improving over time?
- Celebrate: Are you collecting valuable story content along the way so you can celebrate your partnership impact?
Cause Partner Compatibility (COULD THIS BE LOVE?)
“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”
Like personal relationships, cause partnerships can last for “a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”
If you want your cause partner to say “I love you” and stick around, then start with a strong strategic partnership plan and goals. Implement supportive systems designed for mutual success. And, bring the partnership to life through consistently positive personal experiences.
Be a “power couple” and enjoy the power of cause partnership.