Over the last few years, books on strategic alliances have been in vogue -- especially ones that claim that the new economy has overturned many old rules about self-sufficiency and competition. That's because the new economy rewards speed and specialization. Yet a more narrow focus on so-called core competencies creates gaps in your operation -- gaps that need to be filled by other organizations.
Some books, most notably Co-opetition, have gone so far as to recommend cooperative relationships between traditional business rivals. No doubt, there are some who will appreciate the logic behind the theory but still balk at the actual practice -- as well as those who simply prefer the tried and true crush-the-enemy approach.
But no matter where you stand on the cooperate-conquer continuum, two new books show you how to forge cooperative relationships with parties that have no interest in stealing market share -- nonprofit organizations. Corporations can simultaneously enhance their reputations and their bottom lines. Nonprofits stand to gain financially, too. The increased awareness can also attract supporters and resources.