The best relationships between a foundation and nonprofit are long lasting. This involves years of sharing in the success and accomplishment of the nonprofit’s mission with the foundation’s goals. Many times, this is a challenge to achieve.
Foundation members want to tell their stakeholders how they helped the nonprofit. Staff on the nonprofit want to tell board members how they got money. Both organizations may have a shared belief in the mission, but the goal becomes to promote themselves.
While foundations and nonprofits should use the grant process to self-promote, the mission can become a lower priority. Egos get involved.
People want credit for their efforts. They want others to know they accomplished something positive. While self-promotion provides motivation, the mission should not be lost in the bragging.
Of course, there can be success with only egos. I experienced this while working in the Pentagon. This type of self-relationship assumes a strong level of cruelty and coldness. There can be some level of limited success, yet it is never long lasting.
When egos and self-promotion become too important, the relationship becomes strained and can end. It is a benefit for two organizations to know and understand each other with the intent that both will be around for many years.
A good, long lasting relationship is the most important asset of any organization.