Advancing Collaboration



Advancing Collaboration with Goodwill Industries International

About the Organization

Goodwill® is the leading nonprofit provider of job training and placement services in North America. Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively served more than 1 million individuals worldwide and helped more than 126,000 people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care, to name a few, and get the supportive services they needed to be successful, such as English language training, additional education, and access to transportation and childcare.


Lauren Zilai Collab Story

Featured Guest
Lauren Lawson-Zilai, Senior Director of PR and Communications/National Spokesperson
Goodwill Industries International


Approach to Collaboration

Goodwill collaborates with like-minded partners to help people build skills, access the support needed to earn good jobs, advance into sustainable careers and provide for their families. We believe positive collaboration enables your nonprofit brand to move its mission forward and become an emotive brand.

Application of the 9 Considerations for Collaboration

Build Trust
We look for partners who will stand with us to achieve a shared vision of building an economic recovery that works for everyone and create life-changing opportunities for job seekers.

Have a Vision

Our Rising Together™ initiative establishes a system of partnerships that enables faster, more equitable economic recovery and mobility for job seekers. Our Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator® mobilizes up to 126 local, community-based organizations as they equip more than one million people with enhanced digital skills training over the course of three years. Both of these strategic initiatives serve as examples of where we had collective measurable impact goals related to people and places we’ve served. 

Seek to Assure the Success of Your Collaborators

Our partners share the belief that everyone deserve an opportunity to thrive. They work with us to provide financial investments, pro bono skills training, in-kind contributing or national hiring initiatives, to align with their CSR initiatives.

Take Stock
We always take stock of our organizational strengths and weaknesses. One such area of opportunity is ecommerce. Donated goods retail revenue is our bread and butter but we must remain competitive with existing current sites, and consumers must understand that the revenue from their purchases goes right back to benefit people in their local communities.

Start Small
We believe in building scale and starting off with pilot programs. We launched a 3-D immersive experience to help people with criminal backgrounds practice interviewing and telling their stories. The program launched in 10 markets with the goal of increasing in up to a year.

Fail Fast, and Build Rigorous Feedback Loops

We want partners to recognize our footprint and value. Some partners may think they are benefiting a nonprofit when they partner with them but Goodwill, in particular, is a valued brand with a 94% brand recognition rate. Our feedback loop is based on furthering strong, strategic relationships built on trust, transparency and mutual benefit. We have a team of leaders at Goodwill dedicated to managing these relationships with a strong track record of success. Many of our national strategic partners have been partners with us for multiple years and trust that their investment in Goodwill will result in positive outcomes and results for our local communities. 

Take a Portfolio Approach

We categorize our partners, such as Google, Accenture, Walmart, Dell Reconnect, as either national strategic or impact partners based on the number of markets they serve in conjunction with our local, community-based Goodwill organizations as well as the services they are able to provide. 

Consider Non-Traditional Partners

We partner with Meta (Facebook) Elevate to provide social media marketing training for Black learners. The program is intended to increase diversity and eliminate barriers to entry in this rapidly growing field of work. Participants also receive career planning, résumé building and other supports as needed.

Keep Your Donors Apprised of Your Collaborations
In order to close the skills gap and provide equal opportunity for all, the private and public sector must work together. Our partners include global and philanthropic leaders, and Fortune 50 companies. 

Future Collaborations
Our ideal collaboration is one where partners are creating can’t miss news that reporters want to cover through programs that address the inequities and systematic barriers our workers in society face the most.

This article was composed by Rachel Romana Liu.

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