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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Examples of How Building Partnerships Grows Non-Profit Causes


The nonprofit sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in North America right now, and with almost 150,000 registered charities and nonprofits currently operating in Canada, it shows no signs of slowing down. Of course, as more and more organizations are added to the mix, groups must become increasingly creative in the planning and carrying out of their mission. Whether seeking to advocate for a cause before government, build recognition with the public or fundraise, there is strength in numbers. Throughout my career, I can undoubtedly back up the value of identifying partnering organizations, matching them up and as a result, putting forth highly impact-full programming and outreach initiatives.

With the Canadian Paralympic Committee, I saw that one of the biggest challenges to growing the brand of the movement and that of the movement's 23 member organizations was that individually, all organizations lacked resources to grow recognition of their sports. Starting with a national conference on joining together on brand collaboration and later by identifying the common denominator for all involved, I coordinated a national task force that put the wheels in motion for all organizations to grow.

With the Canadian Construction Association, I coordinated 7 national associations into a common advocacy event on Parliament Hill with the result of growing awareness for an issue all held dearly: government investment in infrastructure. By collaborating, we shared costs AND showed a common front to Members of Parliament.

More recently, I am working with the Information Communications and Technology Council (ICTC) identifying partnering organizations in serving immigrants and employment issues. So far, more than seven organizations are now working with ICTC to focus group and pilot test coming online tool that will help immigrants in the IT sector find employment in Canada. Collaborating together, all organizations are benefitting from cost savings and in reaching out to new audiences otherwise impossible had they gone solo.



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Mark Buzan is principal and chief magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service strategic communications, public relations and public affairs consultancy for nonprofits and associations. Mark has coordinated and negotiated a number of partnerships and sponsorship arrangements for non-profits and associations even using them to advocate to Parliament. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.

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