June 14, 2013–In my work developing corporate cause-marketing campaigns and generating engagement for nonprofit initiatives, I’ve learned that very few projects get traction without strategic partnerships and strong coalition-building. This year’s CECP Summit featured several sessions showcasing the need for partnerships, but none so clearly presented the case as the standing-room-only panel “Leveraging Partnerships to Advance Your Objective.”
Curated by BNY Mellon’s R. Jeep Bryant, the panel featured Avon Foundation’s Carol Kurzig, Sabre Holdings’ Barbra Anderson and Hasbro’s Karen Davis. All of the panelists emphasized the importance of addressing challenges collaboratively—businesses, NGOs and government entities all need a seat at the table. Each panelist described her company’s programs and the absolute importance of well-thought out and strategically-planned partnerships to those programs’ success.
Barbra Anderson provided an overview of how Sabre Holdings became involved in the fight to end human trafficking, an important issue around the globe. Given the company’s deep entrenchment in the travel industry, it was an authentic cause and mission for Sabre Holdings to take on, but the company certainly was not an expert on the issue. Anderson was the first to explain that Sabre needed experts to learn from and with which to engage. To be fully informed, they partnered with two well-known players including The Code and The Polaris Project and Sabre became the first global travel technology company to sign the tourism Code of Conduct (The Code).
Carol Kurzig, certainly not new to coalition-building, has spearheaded too many partnerships to name over the years for the Avon Foundation in order to raise awareness and funds to end breast cancer and create a movement to bring domestic violence out of the closet. She shared the following tips on how to ensure partnerships are successful for the long-term:
– Define upfront expectations and what you want to your outcome to be.
– Identify goals at the outset.
– While strengthening long-term partnerships, continue to be looking for new potential partners to bring to the table
– By collaborating you will lose some control. Realize it and embrace it.
Hasbro, the global games company, selected volunteering and service to be its signature platform and social good mission, and in 2010 created GenerationOn, committing $5 million over five years to launch a global service movement. The goal is to reach more than two million young people, aged three to 18, as well as parents, educators and non-profits who work with them. GenerationOn provides access to a centralized resource to help youth become leaders and problem solvers, successful students and active community members. Like Sabre Holdings, Hasbro knew it needed to partner with experts who could fill in the knowledge gap, explained Karen Davis. The company conducted extensive research to determine the most appropriate partner and selected the Points of Light Institute.