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Community banks are a foundational community service.

They help increase financial literacy and freedom for local communities and provide banking opportunities to thousands of community members. The unique approach of community banks is that they are owned and operated by members of the community who understand local needs.

As a leader of your community bank, you may be looking for ways to further extend your impact into your local community. One way to do this is to consider partnering with local nonprofits that match your values and cultivate a relationship beneficial to all parties. Here’s our guide of why, who, and how:

Why Partner With Nonprofits?

At their core, community banks and nonprofits share similar values and missions: to serve the local community and make their community a better place. Partnering with local nonprofits allows community banks to strengthen their ties, and increase both awareness and audiences for their bank and their nonprofit partners.

Nonprofit organizations can often benefit from outside guidance and expertise when it comes to managing finances and funding but are driven by the same motivations as community banks to serve their communities. Community banks can be a perfect partner for the needs of nonprofits, who are often understaffed and underfunded. Banks can consider providing financial support to nonprofits through charitable donations and/or volunteers, and offer financial management advice, investment strategies and other strategies to meet their unique banking needs.  

How Do You Know Who to Partner With?

When searching for a nonprofit partner to collaborate with, the options can sometimes seem overwhelming (there are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States alone!). A good rule of thumb is to look for nonprofit partners that closely align with your organization’s values and services. You want to seek out a partnership that will be mutually beneficial for your bank and the nonprofit you are partnering with. For example, if your organization provides a lot of mortgage services, you may consider cultivating a relationship with a housing-centered community partner such as Habitat for Humanity. By finding a community nonprofit with similar goals, you can create shared strategies that benefit all parties. 

In considering partnerships, you’ll want to look for ways your bank can provide opportunities to community members and reach larger audiences by collaborating with the organization while finding common ground in your shared ethics and goals.  

Making the Connection

The first step in making the connection with a local nonprofit is to do your research on the nonprofit you’re seeking to make a connection with. Consider the following questions when planning a collaboration: 

  • What is their main mission and objectives? 
  • Do our goals align closely enough to establish an effective partnership?
  • Is the nonprofit already working with a similar financial institution?
  • What value can our community bank bring to this nonprofit? How would this partnership benefit both organizations? 

If you have a positive answer to most of these questions, it’s time to reach out. Consider sending an email or making a call explaining who you are and ask to set up a longer meeting to discuss details. To prepare for your meeting, consider the following concepts to help guide your planning and discussion: 

  • What are the primary needs of the two organizations? 
  • How can you create a plan to help meet both organizations’ goals? 
  • Where and how can your teams collaborate? (ex: Volunteering, collaborative events, joint fundraising, etc)
  • What is your budget and timeline? 
  • How can your organizations generate media coverage together? 

However your organization decides to collaborate with a local nonprofit, the benefits of these types of partnerships can help raise the visibility of the partnering organizations, so you all can continue to do what you do best: serve your local community. 

Thoma Thoma is a strategic brand development and marketing agency specializing in services that help you Live Your Brand. If you like what you’ve seen from Thoma’s work and you’d enjoy similar results in your organization, let’s connect

Author Thoma Thoma

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