The ideal relationships between nonprofit organizations and agencies supporting them are collaborative partnerships based on courtesy, mutual honesty, and an openness to feedback.

In my experience, the most productive partnerships happen when the nonprofit organization has a desire to grow and able to act on recommendations to pivot, change, and grow. Similarly, the best agencies take the time to understand their nonprofit clients’ unique culture and needs so they can provide an approach that’s tailored to the organization.

In creating and sustaining this sort of collaborative partnership, the process of working together starts to resemble a dance.

How can you make your working relationship with your direct response agency more dance-like? Here are some tips:

And here’s one last thought: fundraising sometimes requires stepping out of one's comfort zone or challenging accepted conventions within your organization. This can of course be scary, but acquiring the support you need to accomplish your mission makes it all worthwhile.

Keeping the lines of communication open, doing a bit of coordination in advance, and providing feedback on strategic and creative materials early in the production process can all help your agency partnership run more smoothly, which in turn increases your chances of fundraising success.