Becoming a collaborationist and the future of collaboration

Becoming a collaborationist and the future of collaboration

Posted on February 24, 2015 by Pam Truitt

This is my fourth -- and final -- post about the collaboration study funded by the Lodestar Foundation. The first three were reflections, but this one is focused on the future.

I participated in the webinar announcing the study and was pleased to learn that John Macintosh laid out future plans and introduced a new word to our lexicon: collaborationist. I understood the meaning, but every dictionary reference starts out with the opposite of what John means. So, now we all must think of a collaborationist as this: a person who collaborates. John wants to retire at a decent age, but before he can claim his legacy, he’ll need to see that most of this list is checked off:

Foundations all choose to fund capacity building of which collaboration is an explicit and important part.

I second that! Capacity building for a range of areas (board building, fundraising, strategic planning, strategic communications) is routinely offered and collaboration would enhance the opportunities.

The application for tax-exempt status requires the applicant to survey the landscape of existing, similar organizations before forming a new entity.

This is a great concept and will be easier to implement with transparency. Easily accessible and searchable local data bases containing current nonprofit profiles will be needed and that field is just beginning to develop. We are pretty fortunate that The Giving Partner, a GuideStar product, provides our local area with just that.

Laws are changed so that nonprofits are as easy to merge (or shutdown) as they are to start.

Many have opined that divorces should be easy to obtain and marriages difficult. I’m in agreement with John and know that streamlining the process is needed, but don’t know how to unravel this one.

Organizations give awards and fellowships for “social intrapreneurs”—working to do smart things within or among existing organizations—as often as “social entrepreneurs” who start new ones.

This one has terrific merit and could be implemented now. Organizations routinely reward employees and volunteers so why not for just being smart? Love this one!

Boards consider it best practice to have a “Collaboration Committee”

Some nonprofits have standing committees to look for and evaluate opportunities, but I don’t think they are common. I’ve also known that collaboration comes up during the strategic thinking and planning process—and a committee or task force is an outgrowth of that process.

Thanks to John for sharing his thoughts on the future. We’ll know what you’ll be doing for the next 12 years!

What would you add to John’s list?

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