How to be a Better Corporate Partner to Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Jul 6, 2018 12:01:36 PM

A 2018 report from New Philanthropy Capital in London, England includes findings that can lead to better partnerships between post-acute companies and industry associations. Although the report is based on company partnerships with charities, the same concepts apply to relationships with associations.


According to the report, research finds that “more and more charities and corporations want to move away from a transactional relationship that often does not add much to one that is based on impact.” Developing relationships that are mutually beneficial is key, the report notes.


The report identifies two key challenges:

  • Partnerships often are imbalanced. Corporations and organizations “are both looking to get something out of their partnerships.” But it can seem like corporations hold all the cards because they are providing the funding. The organizations may hesitate to speak up “for fear of jeopardizing the relationship and the funding.”
  • Partnered parties often lack a clear understanding of what their relationship can provide. Organizations tapped in the report say they need to “work harder to understand corporations and what they offer. Without this understanding there cannot be a level playing field for developing partnership ideas.”


Based on these two challenges, the report states the obvious: “More open and honest conversations are clearly needed.”



For associations and their corporate partners to avoid being at loggerheads, the report asserts “developing a more equal partnership that recognizes each other’s strengths should allow the partnership to have more impact.”


The report included a three-point wish list that serves as a helpful guide for discussions between companies and associations:

  • Associations must be “candid and clear about what they can and cannot offer.”
  • Corporations must ensure that they fully understand the association and its needs, “rather than relying on myths or assumptions.”
  • Both potential partners must “invest time to understand what the other has to offer, gaining a better understanding of how they can help each other.”


The end result, the report asserts, is to improve partnerships between corporations and organizations “to make partnerships less about PR or having a ‘warm glow’ and more about making an impact.”


In the report’s conclusion, the authors say they hope the report will “inspire others to think about how they could improve their partnerships. This requires having the creativity to think of new ways of working and the courage to change and improve relationships.”


Corporations and the associations they partner with have much to gain by taking advantage of what each can bring to the table. For information and ideas on how your company can improve its relationship with associations, please contact Quantum Age.


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