Litmos recently attended the Independent Sector conference in Washington, D.C., as both a sponsor and attendee. Litmos has long been passionate about helping non-profit organizations, providing value-driven technology in an effort to increase the overall impact of those organizations we partner with.
The team had meaningful conversations revolving around innovation in the learning management space. Organizations are committed to what’s currently working, but also want to leverage and use technology to expand their reach. Many folks in the NFP space were curious about modern ILT, reporting and dashboards, Learning Paths, e-commerce, and certification. The underlying question was how to scale these features to provide a true impact and build partnerships across all sectors.
We saw five similar interests from non-profits:
- Results-oriented partnerships
Developing strong relationships built on trust and evidence is a critical part of many projects. Projects often rely on other agencies and groups to make referrals to them, and referrals are far more likely to come once good relationships have been built.
- Increase sense of community through shared values
Shared values represent new resource development opportunities for nonprofits. Those shared values engage companies more deeply around social issues and enhance the relationship among companies and nonprofit organizations, creating an interdependence and accountability. In the end, companies are part of a broader ecosystem that contributes to creating societal value.
- Building connectedness
Be clear on the value you bring to the table. Be honest about why you're interested in creating a relationship and what your contributions could be. Write down the answers to the following: “How does this relationship benefit my professional and personal growth?” and “What do I expect to gain from this partnership?”
- Proven ability to deliver
Not surprisingly, trust is the foundation for any successful relationship. A trusting relationship usually results in some sort of give and take, mutually beneficial despite differences. Think of contracts as a means to preserve relationships, not destroy them. A written agreement seals a relationship and provides a level of security and fairness that is priceless.
- Innovative solutions with program delivery
Nonprofits may need to move beyond their comfort zone to embrace new and innovative strategies for realizing the impact of their mission. Being "innovative" doesn’t mean deserting your organization’s history, but leveraging what’s been done to achieve greater impact. Just as new innovations are viewed as being critical to a for-profit’s bottom line, so too should it be a valued component of a nonprofit’s business plan. For-profit companies recognize the need to remain relevant by updating their products and services while also developing new ones, much as nonprofits need to pilot new and creative approaches to living out their missions and serving their communities.
Ultimately, the secret to non-profit success lies in how you are able to work outside the boundaries of your organization. But true effectiveness isn’t a destination we can ever reach. It’s a journey — and one that’s going to be a lot more fruitful if we all take it together.