The Win-Win

Currently one of the organizations I work with is under the leadership of a former pro football player. Often our conversations are seasoned with football analogies illustrating teamwork, strategy, perspective, character and ultimately, winning. Of course the idea of winning resonates even with a non-athletic type like me. The thrill of coming out on top is exhilarating.

One of the first principles I discuss with a new client in our nonprofit consulting group is the “win-win” principle. When building a relationship with a prospective donor, there has to be a win for both the nonprofit and for the donor. The first win resonates right away with the leaders in the nonprofit organization. They are clear on their own vision, mission and goals. It is the second win that is often puzzling and is the focus of my coaching.

“How does the donor win?” I often ask my clients. What will the donor receive from the relationship with the nonprofit? What are his or her dreams? Donors have cares, compassions … they are donors because they want to affect change. How does supporting this cause allow them to accomplish their goals? The answers to these questions begin to help us see how to create the win-win.

Many of the partners we work with in our firm are business owners. They too have a vision and mission to accomplish. Among their goals often the owner is looking for opportunities to connect his employees to the community, create a team environment and foster a thriving place for his employees to work. Or perhaps the owner has a strategy to impact the world in which the nonprofit could be the vehicle to accomplish this.

When the discussion moves from a one-way conversation focused on how the nonprofit alone can win to a dialogue about each party’s deeper needs and the opportunity to partner in a unique way toward a common goal, all of a sudden the conversation feels natural and even delightful. A relationship is built and an opportunity for a true “win-win” is created!