NortonLifeLock Inc. believes strongly in a corporate responsibility (CR) program that relies on partnerships. Picking the right partner or partners can make outcomes easier to achieve and impacts more meaningful, especially when launching a new initiative.
This was part of the message I presented at the Net Impact Conference on October 25th in Detroit. I joined a panel discussing “Building Authentic Community Partnerships,” along with John Hogan, VP Community Relations at Excite Credit Union; Angela Reyes, Founder and ED of Detroit Hispanic Development Corp; and Andrea Riehl, Senior Manager of Social Impact at Best Buy.
For those that weren’t in Detroit, the below five strategies helped us choose nonprofit partners when building Fostering a Secure Tomorrow (FAST), a signature CR program, in 2018.
1. Build on the work of existing organizations
Foster youth are more vulnerable to identity theft as they move from home to home and an expanding group of adults gain access to their private information. As a leader in identity theft protection, NortonLifeLock can help these youth with free security software, online safety education, and restoration services when necessary.
There are more than 400,000 foster youth in the United States and the key to the FAST program’s success is maximizing our reach through effective partnerships. We have done this by collaborating with local organizations that already support and serve foster youth, in order to quickly embed ourselves into the community.
Our FAST partners, The Bill Wilson Center, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK), and Promises2Kids, have proven to be invaluable, as they have spent years building deep and trusting relationships with foster families. Working with these organizations allows us to meet foster youth where they are and makes it easier to get our services and education into their hands.
2. Support existing partners that want what you’re offering
Through the philanthropic history of Symantec, we built longstanding relationships with The Bill Wilson Center, AASK, and Promises2Kids. This history and the reciprocal trust built up over time meant these partners knew our intentions were purely to use our expertise to help a vulnerable population.
Our nonprofit partners also value the education we offer as it isn’t something they can provide. They see FAST as an added benefit for their clients and want our help, which has made them fellow champions of the program.
3. Look outside the nonprofit community
Partnerships don’t have to be limited to community organizations and think tanks. Government agencies provide a wealth of information and access that can’t always be found in the private sector.
Legally, foster youth are dependents of the state they live in and government agencies have a lot of oversight on what information children in foster care have access to. For example, foster youth in many states attend mandatory sessions where they learn how to balance a checkbook or cook a meal.
We believe foster youth should know how to run a credit check and freeze their credit if necessary. Through FAST, we work in partnership with state and local governments to incorporate cyber safety skills into the programs they already run. We also educate caseworkers and train staff at independent living programs, making cyber safety education available to foster youth where they already are.
4. Find flexible partners
As we launched the FAST pilot, we implemented our plans, learned what worked and didn’t, and revised our strategies. As an example, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), another FAST partner, came on board to help us conduct research to better understand exactly how vulnerable foster youth are to identity theft. After hitting several legal and logistical snafus, we were unable to conduct a nationwide foster youth identity theft study.
Working together however, we pivoted and were able to carry out an important trend analysis of the impact of identity theft on foster youth age 14 and older in parts of the United States. This analysis has helped us make FAST more successful and having flexible partners during the pilot phase was vital.
5. Location matters
Employees today expect their employer to support the communities in which they do business. We chose FAST partners that operated close to our offices to allow employees to get involved and to serve youth in our local communities.
More than 70 employees have been trained to lead identity theft and digital hygiene sessions around the country, sharing important tips with more than 300 foster youth, foster families, and service providers so far.
These five strategies provide a starting place for choosing nonprofit partners that help amplify CR program messages, build stakeholder trust, and yield results. At NortonLifeLock, we’ll continue to build meaningful partnerships across sectors as we look to make a better future, together.
You can read more about the FAST program and NortonLifeLock’s commitment to foster youth on our website.
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