Funders are used to hearing different versions of the meaning of “partnership” from nonprofits wanting to work with them (aka receive funding). All too often the proposed “partnership” involves the funder supporting the initiatives or priorities the applicant brings forward with minimal input from the funder.
On the other hand, the applicant sees that the funder 1) has “a lot of money” and 2) supports [insert general category the nonprofit works in]. Therefore the funder is fair game to “partner.”
Funder-nonprofit partnering involves incorporating different perspectives, giving up a level of control, and making compromises…Funders usually focus on outcomes, not processes.
The different perspectives partners bring to an issue can lead to new or more effective solutions…the beauty of partnering for long-term solutions is that it is more likely to lead to funding being renewed, allowing the partnership to continue to work toward those long-term solutions.
Partnerships with funders take a commitment of time to establish and may not be easy, but they can lead to amazing long-term results.
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