If collaborations work, why aren't there more of them?

If collaborations work, why aren't there more of them?

Posted on January 13, 2015 by Pam Truitt

The new year started positively for those in the collaboration space. Thanks to support from The Lodestar Foundation, a recently released study reaffirmed that nonprofit collaboration works and is successful. I’m going to write a few blog posts based on the findings from the study:

*Collaboration is defined as ‘formal’ - associations, joint programs, shared support functions, merger

*237 nonprofit CEOs and 101 foundations were surveyed

*There is positive momentum; high rates of existing collaboration; a high degree of success was reported; and a thirst for more by nonprofits and foundations

*There are barriers on the funder/foundation side and the nonprofit side

If collaboration works, why isn’t there more of them?

Southwest Florida is blessed with substantial philanthropic assets and is home to the two largest community foundations in Florida. These foundations, focused on generous grant making and community building, are part of a wider landscape of some 300 private foundations that call the Sarasota area home. These resources have created a large number of nonprofits competing for grants.

Not wanting to duplicate the very fine work of these foundations, The Patterson Foundation positioned itself to do its work through purposeful partnerships that contain leverage and collaboration platforms. TPF facilitates conversations among nonprofits that want to explore working smarter in the collaboration space.

Curious about collaboration? A few nonprofits have told me they fear that opening TPF’s door means a requirement to merge! TPF encourages curiosity and never forces a solution. I regularly brainstorm with nonprofits about collaboration, frequently providing homework to develop collaborative relationships with other nonprofits.

Nonprofits regularly attend workshops to learn about marketing, storytelling, fundraising, governance or other topics that they believe can help their organizations work smarter.

What about collaboration—would you participate?

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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