When are fundraising partnerships a good idea?  You shouldn’t look for a partner who will solve all your problems, because that rarely works out.  You should seek a partner who will solve one specific problem (if your organization has lots of problems, you’re better off with your head down trying to solve them yourself than seeking a partner who will do the work for you), and who will in turn be grateful for something that you can do for them.  

The classic example is when a nonprofit has a large donor list/membership base, but lacks a clear and compelling cause for donors to donate.  In this case, this nonprofit may consider forming a partnership with a new organization that lacks a large donor list/membership base but that has a compelling cause.  The two organizations may each benefit from a partnership on a specific fundraising event, because each organization brings value to the table and can help the other succeed and do good work. 

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Read more about Will Marlow here, or email him at will@alumnifidelity.com.