Profiles in Partnership: Interviews with America's Leading Nonprofit and For-profit Organizations New Series on how to Create Successful Cross-Sector Partnerships

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How do you create cross-sector partnerships that really work? New blog series interviews over 20 of the America's leading nonprofit and for-profit organizations and offers “how-to” tips on creating successful partnerships.

The name of the game is collaboration. When the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter wanted to develop an earthquake preparedness program they teamed with Pacific Gas & Electric to form a three-year partnership which prepared an unprecedented 1,000,000 San Francisco Bay Area residents with emergency training. When Art from the Heart, a small nonprofit art program, wanted to expand their programs in elementary schools that didn't have art programs, they teamed with Autodesk for both funding and volunteers.

From large national and regional programs to very small local projects these cross-sector partnerships - partnerships between two or more partners from the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors- are rapidly growing across the country. And the reason is simple: cross-sector partnerships can create a whole far greater than the sum of their parts when they combine their economic, community relations, volunteer and creative abilities to focus on the greater good.

Bruce Burtch, credited with designing the first cause marketing program in 1976 and now a nationally respected expert in the development of cross-sector partnerships stated, “There is absolutely nothing in the business today creates as much benefit, on as many levels, to as many stakeholders as a cross-sector partnership. Nothing else comes even close.”

So where does one go to learn the opportunities and challenges that exist when bringing together organizations from different sectors? Where are the models to be followed from people who have deep experience in developing such partnerships? A blog series entitled, Profiles in Partnership, has been launched by Bruce Burtch and can be found at Over 20 interviews will be shared from all sides of the cross-sector partnership equation, ranging from leaders of national organizations to small nonprofits, including Bobby Silten, chief foundation officer of Gap Foundation; Karen Baker, California State Secretary for service and volunteering; Matt Lonner, manager of global partnerships for Chevron; Sherri Lewis Wood, chair and national founder of One Warm Coat; Jeanne Bell , CEO of Compass Point Nonprofit Services, and many more.

Anne Wilson, CEO of the United Way of the Bay Area, said “The most robust partnerships are multidimensional. You can send anybody in to paint the meeting room, but to say we’re going to really partner; we’re going to have an ongoing relationship with this entity and this issue. That’s multidimensional.”

Burtch said, “Cross-sector partnerships can be far more than just a marketing relationship designed to increase product sales or raise donations. When you truly embrace a cause, and generate benefit for those the cause serves, your efforts will raise the tide on all aspects of your organization. Indeed, there is a wonderful domino effect on your employees, donors, customers, the media, your community, vendors, stockholders, and more. When you embrace the cause, your entire organization’s culture will be stimulated. This focus on partnership, on doing good, takes win-win to a whole new level.”

About the company:
Bruce W. Burtch, Inc. is a cause marketing and cross-sector partnership development firm founded by Bruce Burtch, following 30 years at the management level of major nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Credited with designing the first cause marketing campaign in 1976, a partnership between Marriott Corporation and March of Dimes, a smashingly successful partnership which raised over $2.5 million, 40% more than had ever been raised in the history of March of Dimes Chapters West.

Bruce is a nationally-recognized, award-winning cause marketing catalyst. His work helps for-profit and nonprofit organizations maximize their strategic marketing and fund development. He has designed partnerships and/or marketing campaigns for the American Red Cross, U.S. Olympic Committee, San Francisco Examiner, Marriott Corporation, AT&T, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Xerox, USS Potomac Association, Toys for Tots, Special Olympics, March of Dimes and many more.

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