Everybody’s Doing It: Tips for Healthy Nonprofit Collaborations
March 4, 2009, The Foundation Center — Do you desire a beneficial partnership? Do you dream of having a partnership that will “get your organization’s name out there” in a good way? Are you looking to collaborate to increase your resources? If you answered yes to these questions, you are not alone.
According to The Power of Partnership by Plexus Consulting Group, 86% of the respondents to their questionnaire said the most important accomplishment of a strategic partnership is ‘to achieve a goal that the association could not achieve alone.” To respondents, that goal most often is to:
• Increase membership
• Increase resources
• Increase revenue
• Enhance visibility and/or brand
• Expand current markets (or develop new markets)
• Minimize the risk inherent in any innovation
• Maximize use of resources
Before you rush to hook-up with an organization, here’s a sobering fact: 50% fail. (I’m not citing divorce statistics either.) That’s according to a study “When to Ally and When to Acquire,” in the Harvard Business Review (July/August 2004) referenced in The Power of Partnership.
Use the following tips to develop a thriving collaborative partnership regardless of economic conditions.
What to do:
Determine your objective: Be clear about why your organization is choosing to partner and what you hope to accomplish. Your objectives should be in alignment with your vision, mission, and strategic goals. Remember to consider what others may possibly gain through the partnership as well.
Assess your readiness: Successful partnerships have committed leadership at both the executive and staff levels. Commitment is demonstrated by staff having dedicated time for meetings and work related to the collaboration. Commitment can also be seen by allocating resources to support the initiative. Does your staff have the time and resources available to fulfill your organization’s role? Have you determined your organization’s strengths and weakness to know what roles you can play within a partnership?