"Swipe Right" on Nonprofit Partners

Eileen Howard Boone, CVS Health’s SVP Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy and President, CVS Health Foundation, offers tips on developing successful corporate partnerships that deliver mutual impact.

Every year, not-for-profit organizations go through the painstaking process of establishing corporate relationships with the hopes of obtaining critical funding to advance their missions, while companies equally struggle to identify non-profits that help advance their positive social impact. For both, choosing the right partner that is a good fit can be a challenging proposition.

What if a social network existed where businesses and non-profits could easily find the right match? What profile information would be most critical for choosing a partner? In thinking about new business relationships, here are a few critical factors to consider when you ‘swipe right’ for nonprofit partnerships.

Identify common interests: It’s important that the mission of your business and the organizations are aligned. At CVS Health, this means we work with those who will support us in our corporate purpose of helping people on their path to better health.  We demonstrate this in various ways such as supporting cancer research, expanding access to quality health care and helping to deliver the first tobacco-free generation. The benefit of working toward a common goal has the power to do so much for so many who need it.

Look at credibility & reputation: Not all non-profits are created equal. Most do great work and make a difference in their communities, but some don’t maximize the impact they can have. Use nonprofit rating tools and services to evaluate the giving of your potential partner so you are certain your company’s charitable funding will be put to good use.

Impact one another: Before choosing a partner you must ask yourself if this partnership will be mutually beneficial. If the answer is no, then try again. Not only are you choosing a partner that you think can impact your company’s mission but you must also think about if your work together has the ability to strengthen their mission as well. Through our multi-year partnership with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) we’ve awarded grants to local community health centers and free clinics. This partnership has made measurable and meaningful progress toward their goals of improving care coordination, managing chronic conditions and increasing access to care while also benefitting our mission of increasing access to quality care to those who need it most.

Think strategically: When you look for a nonprofit partner, it’s imperative that you choose one that aligns with your overall business strategy. For CVS Health, following our decision to stop selling tobacco in 2014, we increased our support of organizations that provided smoking cessation services across the country. Since that time, we’ve brought multiple partners together to deliver the first tobacco-free generation as part of our Be The First initiative. The benefit of working toward a common goal has the power to do so much for so many.

Seek buy-in from those around you: CVS Health has experienced significant growth over the past few years, and as a result, offers a suite of integrated services that help patients across the United States. We work with the leaders of each business unit to identify the needs of their stakeholders to ensure that our giving is reflective of the broader communities we serve.

The best partners are the ones who support each other and work together to make each other’s goals become reality. We choose to collaborate and work with organizations that have a proven track record of making a positive impact in their area of expertise. We value their work and in turn they value ours.

To learn more about CVS Health’s efforts to increase access to health care and improve outcomes, visit our Corporate Giving information center