Leveraging Partnerships to Advance Your Objectives
Leveraging Partnerships to Advance Your Objectives
CAMPAIGN: 2013 CECP Summit
June 13, 2013--Last week at the 2013 CECP Summit: Ahead, Together, I attended a session focused on Leveraging Partnerships to Advance Your Objectives. In order to move ahead in corporate philanthropy, we need to utilize outstanding partnerships – bringing likeminded partners together to inspire collaborations and create change.
The panel was moderated by Jeep Bryant, Executive VP of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at BNY Mellon, and the panel was made up of Barbra Anderson, Director of Corporate Responsibility & Executive Director at Sabre Holdings, Carol Hurzig, President of Avon Foundation for Women, and Karen Davis, VP of Community Relations at Hasbro Inc.
Barbra Anderson knows the importance of using partnership to advance strategic philanthropic objectives. In the early stages of Passport to Freedom, a Sabre Holdings initiative to end human trafficking, Sabre realized that in order to advance this objective to the best of their ability, they would have to deepen their knowledge of the issue in order to tackle it successfully. By first partnering with BSR and Pearlson Companies to develop their strategic vision, and then turning to the experts in human trafficking like The State Department and various NGOs, Sabre has been able to make their journey with Passport to Freedom a successful one.
The fight against breast cancer could never succeed without collaboration, as Carol Kurzig of Avon Foundation knows. Avon Foundation has experience in forging successful partnerships, as they did with the global nonprofit, Vital Voices. Through their partnership, Avon Foundation has focused in on 15 countries, businesses, media, non-profits, state departments, and embassies to identify delegation participants and identify measurable goals and outcomes that delegates could produce in a 2 to 3 year period. Due in no small part to this clear plan of action, all delegates met goals or part of them.
Through Hasbro’s philanthropic initiatives, Karen Davis has been exposed to the workings of unique partnership, which resulted in Hasbro and Points of Light, a youth enterprise, entering into the largest cross-regional merger that has ever been done. Through their cross-regional partnership, four organizations were able to come together to have campaigns run from kindergarten through high school and curriculum developed for teachers and non-profits. Because Hasbro’s cause is largely aimed at youth, their methods of cause related marketing differ from what many traditional non-profits do. Hasbro’s “The Hub”, a TV network, promotes “Generation On” through PSA’s and a variety of campaigns that they work on. Hasbro also runs special campaigns that encourage youth involvement, like Pledge of Service and Toys for Tots.
As anyone working in philanthropy knows, businesses have a life cycle that evolves over the years, and it can be a challenge to maintain the same spirit as this life cycle takes place. How do you manage partnerships given these inevitable changes? According to Kurzig, it is a challenge, but also an opportunity for growth. “Bringing in new partners is refreshing. You have to invest in marketing and creation of opportunities as an ongoing commitment…[Hasbro] insists that a certain percentage of organizations being introduced to the program are new,” says Kurzig.
Sabre’s Anderson takes an approach of in some ways making the people your partners – they hosted an event where over 600 people attended, from experts to train employees and flight attendants, who were then trained to look out for warning signs. Initiative team members had lunch with government leaders, law enforcements, and other companies to discuss the efforts. Jada Pinkett Smith even came to one of Sabre’s events, leading to Anderson’s recommendation to “think about your sphere of influence.” Adds Kurzig, “Put the spotlight on people who have experience with the issue. Press will be most receptive to these kinds of stories.” Utilize the public, utilize businesses, get high-profile names involved, and your partnerships have the power to create change.
No initial venture is perfect, and there are certainly lessons to be learned in launching philanthropic efforts. According to Anderson, “When Passport to Freedom launched, there was so much energy with the human trafficking issue [that we] didn’t strategically think about who our partners would be and what metrics to use. Passion and energy was there first, and everything followed.”
Working with partners, though ultimately beneficial, comes with its own set of challenges. You have to accept that when you collaborate, you lose a certain amount of control, and Kurzig says that you need to be very clear about anticipating this from the start. If the challenges of a particular partnership prove to be too much, Davis says that it is important to be able to exit from said partnership “elegantly, intact.”
Jessica Somerhausen is Social Media Strategist at 10x10.