• Nafisa Kabir

The Importance of Relationship-Building in Sustaining Partnerships with Nonprofits

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Partnering with a nonprofit is a fantastic way to build up your marketing portfolio, keep your skills sharp, and support your favorite causes all at once. Of course, you have to know the ins-and-outs of relationship-building if you want to keep working with them and have an experience worth putting on your resume and listing as a reference.

Let’s talk about what relationship-building is and what it means for your work with nonprofits.

What is relationship building all about?

In the world of marketing, you’ll learn very quickly how essential communication is, but relationship-building goes far beyond communication. While a big part of it does come down to communicating in a prompt, kind, and effective manner, building relationships also requires you to work on your interpersonal skills and go beyond simply reporting on results.

If you don’t have any experience with customer service or sales, working with a nonprofit is a great way to learn these skills and hone them with a real-world “client” so that, when paying clients do come, you know exactly how to handle them.

Your 4 Best Tips to Put Into Action

There’s no better time to start building better relationships and, with these seven tips, you’ll be able to do it quickly and efficiently.

#1 Listen better.

A big part of effective communication is being able to listen better. You already knew that, but are you able to express just how well you listen? Ultimately, everyone desires to be heard and understood.

That’s why you should employ active listening skills, which not only help you listen better, but help showcase to the speaker that you’re listening and understanding them -- and that will make them feel good after every conversation.

#2 Ask good questions.

Questions aren’t just a means for getting more information, they’re actually a great platform for expressing your understanding of the topic while delving below the surface by obtaining even more details about what the person is telling you.

You should always make a point to ask clarifying questions that showcase your understanding of the speaker and give them the chance to share more information when it’s pertinent.

#3 Listen to body language.

You know when you’re talking to someone and you can tell that’s somethings wrong even if they don’t say it? This all comes down to body language, tone, and other aspects that may not match what they’re saying to you.

Learning to speak to the “whole” person and in a way that goes beyond words will help you truly connect with those around you. It will also help you open doors to more meaningful conversations.

#4 Remember what’s important.

One of the quickest ways to make someone feel important? Remember what’s important to them. Beyond their name and maybe their birth day, job title, or other info you could probably find on social media, take notes (literally) and try to remember the things that matter to those you talk to.

Think hobbies, big life events (like the birth of a new baby), and other milestones that their friends would surely know about. By talking about and asking for updates on the big things they share with you, you’ll show them that you’re genuine and actually care about your relationship and partnership beyond simple business talk.

Keep Paying It Forward

As a marketer, you hold the power to uplift businesses and organizations of all sizes by helping them get the word out and get in front of the people that matter most to their success.

When you choose to work with nonprofits, you’re giving them the valuable gift of your time and expertise. While this pandemic may have posed some pressing opportunities for such volunteer work, remember that there will always be room for marketing and community outreach.

How will you keep paying it forward as the years go by and your portfolio grows larger?

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