By Don Schulte, Director of Business Development, Active Marketing Partnerships

With the decline in property taxes, budgets and personnel, municipalities need to raise revenues without raising taxes more than ever before. Imagine having the budget to hire more staff, repair parks and facilities, fill potholes, invest in better communication systems, and upgrade citizen services, even in this economy.

Despite budgetary constraints, governments continue to be faced with meeting the demands for better and improved service delivery, as well as new services and programs. Public-private partnerships present a comprehensive, integrated, convenient, and innovative approach to managing and improving public resources. As private-sector partnerships become more sophisticated, public sector organizations must follow suit to maintain a positive, professional image. The time has come for leaders in the public sector to embrace the concept of partnership marketing.

What Are Public-Private Partnerships?

Public-private partnerships are innovative programs between the public and private sector that allow municipalities to raise revenue without raising taxes. Community assets and properties are leveraged for sponsorships, advertising, naming rights, and other revenue-generating programs, ranging from beverage vending and bus shelter deals to banking and Wi-Fi contracts. Through partnership marketing, local governments have expanded services and funded supplemental programs despite reduced budgets, and without raising taxes or fees.

Examples of Private-Public Partnerships

Public-private partnerships enable government agencies to leverage existing assets to generate additional revenue and provide mutually beneficial branding opportunities to corporations. The partnerships enable governments to evaluate which community assets and properties, such as parks and facilities, can be leveraged as revenue generators when sponsored by corporations.

Considerations of Public-Private Partnerships

Analyze community resources to determine which assets, such as parks, signage, and administration buildings, to market; which categories of assets to target first; and which corporate sponsorships are a fit for the community. Then formalize a partnership to begin generating revenues that benefit citizens, sponsors, and the municipality.

When coordinating the logistics of a public-private partnership, consider four key points:

Community Values: Ensure that the corporate sponsor you choose to partner with aligns with your community’s core values and interests.

Policies and Procedures: Outline your municipality’s partnership policies and procedures prior to considering a public-private partnership. It’s important to adopt and implement a strategy that focuses on priorities and long-term solutions, rather than quick fixes.

Existing Vendor Contacts and Relationships: By working with existing contacts, governments can tap into a level of trust has already been established, and your municipality can more quickly identify and execute opportunities with these contacts.

Public Participation and Acclaim: Get the community involved in the partnership wherever possible.

Top Five Reasons Why Governments Should Entertain Partnerships

Increase revenues

Improve existing services and programs

Provide additional assets for the community to enjoy

Reward corporate sponsors for participating by giving them access to new market segments to promote their brands in a positive manner

Strengthen the community’s marketability.


To learn more about marketing partnerships, go to



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