Corporate volunteer programs offer an incredible opportunity for nonprofit organizations to partner with businesses to advance awareness of and raise money for their cause. A nonprofit liaison with a company creates a situation where everyone wins: the nonprofit gets the assistance it needs while the business benefits from building their brand and generating positive impressions throughout the community.

Choosing the right business or businesses to partner with, however, is critical. You need to partner with an organization whose values mirror your organization’s goals. Also, you may need to organize your volunteer engagement program, so it’s simple for corporate volunteers to jump in and get to work.

Finding the perfect corporate partner can be tricky. These days, it’s very common for successful businesses to support at least one charitable cause, so you might feel overwhelmed when narrowing down the list of companies you would like to approach about developing a partnership.

Once you have identified a for-profit corporation you may like to partner with, it’s time to break the ice.

Your first meeting with the company should be kept casual. Simply introduce your nonprofit and its mission, and try to find common ground by discussing why you are passionate about your cause. It may take one or two casual meetings before you feel comfortable enough to make your pitch for a partnership.

At the second or third meeting, come prepared. Show the CEO or another leader at the company exactly how the partnership will be mutually beneficial. Have the plans for how the collaboration will work at the ready.

A bit of tact and diplomacy go a long way toward creating lasting relationships, especially in business situations. Instead of nitpicking over minor errors, praise the excellent job your new partner and their employees are doing for you.

A great way to create a welcoming environment is to survey your partner. Welcome their ideas — they may have creative ones you would never have thought of. You can also find out what each team member's strength is and delegate the work accordingly.

Read the full article about corporate-nonprofit volunteer partnership at VolunteerMatch.