This study unpacks the complex relationship between corporate–nonprofit partnerships, corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication, and stakeholder evaluations of fit. We move beyond the fundamental question of whether partner fit matters to questions about what types of messages matter, under what conditions, and to whom. We conducted an online experiment (N = 966) to test created fit messages’ ability to influence stakeholder perceptions of corporate–nonprofit partnership fit. Grounded in the symbiotic sustainability model, we find that created fit messaging results in stakeholders having more favorable evaluations of corporate–nonprofit partnership fit. However, we also identify differences in the effectiveness of created fit messaging across potential partnerships. In addition, we find, beyond message type and level of partner congruity, the degree of CSR activism influences stakeholders’ responses to created fit messaging in counterintuitive ways.
- corporate social responsibility
- corporate–nonprofit partnerships
- created fit messages