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Collaboration: Tips on Corporate Partnerships

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  • Be sure the library staff and trustees are comfortable with the corporate partnerships.
  • Poll your staff and trustees to determine if they have any connections with the potential corporation.
  • Determining which corporation to ask will be situational. Read the community and business sections of the local newspaper and corporate annual reports.
  • Find the right person to talk to at the corporation.  This will require some research – either by reading annual reports, corporate Web sites, or articles written about the business or by asking around in your own circle of library trustees, friends, or even library patrons who might be involved with the corporation somehow.  Finding the right person to talk to is critical. 
  • Pick up the phone and ask! After a list of possible corporate partners has been established and researched, make an initial contact through the corporate public relations department. If there is interest, the partnering process can begin; if there is no interest, other alternatives can be pursued.
  • Determine in your initial conversations what the partner’s role will be. Both partners should reach consensus before proceeding with the request.
  • Keep requests simple and direct. For instance, if the library needs a product, such as an effective way to reach baby boomers who might not already be library patrons, be direct and say, “Will you help the Memorial Library by including information in your newsletter on programming or events that target baby boomers?  By doing this, the Library will be able to reach potential new patrons.”
  • Understand and accept the fact that the time required for completion might be longer than desired.
  • Agree, in advance, what recognition the corporation will receive. Confirm this with a letter.  Be sure to follow through.
  • Agree from the initial meeting that, by nature, the partners are two very different organizations. Private corporations seek to make money; libraries are public and seek money to operate effectively. A common goal, however, can be the improvement of the quality of life for baby boomers.

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  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov