22NTC Session: Program
Navigating Power Dynamics: How to Foster Equity in Corporate Partnerships
Submitted by: Emily Patrick | Common Impact, Inc.


It’s easy for nonprofits to feel like they have less control in a corporate partnership. If the company that’s providing funding, volunteers, or resources has an idea or request, you can’t push back – right? Wrong! Successful, sustainable partnerships are rooted in mutual respect for the value both sides bring to the table. So if a corporate partner is asking for too much, trying to take a project in a direction you know isn’t right, or offering support you don’t actually need, don’t be afraid to communicate that. 

In this session, Chief Program Officer Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald will share best practices for healthy power dynamics that Common Impact has honed over the course of two decades managing cross-sector partnerships. Learn how to set expectations from the start, say “no” in a way that maintains positive relationships, and feel empowered to act on your unique social sector expertise, so everyone wins.

Session Type

60 minute session

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand common power dynamic pitfalls in corporate partnerships
  • Confidently establish expectations and boundaries while also creating a culture of trust and open communication
  • Know when to tell corporate partners “no” and how to do it in a way that maintains strong, positive relationships

Target Audience

Anyone dealing with uncomfortable power dynamics who wants to foster fairer, more open, mutually beneficial partnerships


March 23, 2022


9:45am – 10:45am PST