Non-profits are in constant competition with themselves – for a donor’s interest, time, and most of all, for donations. In an environment where resources for non-profits are scarce, collaborations and partnerships provide a platform for doing more good with less. However, some time and effort is required to identify and do some background research on the kind of organization you want to partner with, the nature of your partnership, and how its work aligns with your mission.
Philanthropists who own private foundations can also benefit from working with other organizations. Although most are usually self-funded and more sought out than grant-seeking organizations, this can provide a bit more leverage when it comes to selecting partners. Regardless, both non-profits and foundations have more to gain working together than apart.
Here are some of the benefits of collaborating with other philanthropic organizations.
- Reduced costs: Sharing resources and expenses for operations and programmes can significantly reduce the costs typically borne by just one organization.
- Access to more funding: Working with other organizations provides the opportunity to bid for larger grants to receive increased funding and support for programmes. Also, funders may decide to fund longer-term programmes when more than one organization is involved in implementation.
- Co-creating new ideas: Bringing people together from different organizations can lead to the creation of new ideas that solve complex problems in disruptive ways.
- Reach more people: Teaming up with another organization can create more efficient structures that allow for greater advocacy, scale and impact on more people and communities.
- Increased awareness: Combining efforts of two or more organizations to amplify programmes can generate more awareness about the cause and visibility for the organizations involved.
On the other hand, efforts towards collaboration may not always be successful. To ensure a higher rate of success, it is important to make fundamental decisions before the partnership kicks off. Decide from the beginning if the collaboration is going to be a legally binding contract or something more informal like a peer – learning network; if the collaboration will entail development of programs, funding of programs or both.
In all, collaborations are key to finding phenomenal solutions to society’s problems.