Creating something new is hard work

Posted on February 08, 2012 by Pam Truitt

Thanks to a few professional colleagues who make sure I’m in the loop, I never have to hunt for examples of failed nonprofit partnerships.

I try not to read too much into why they only send the failed ones. I guess they’re just trying to keep me grounded.

So, when I opened an e-mail from a local foundation fundraiser earlier today, my initial reaction was…what???? If the title, 4 Reasons for Nonprofits to NOT Collaborate doesn’t grab your attention, the first line will….Don’t collaborate unless you have to….

Initially I thought this was a negative political ad, but the more I read, the more I felt aligned with the 4 reasons as proposed by blog author Kevin Monroe. The difference between Monroe and me is that I have different commentary and explanations.

You’ll have to read mine below and then read his.

1. The playing field is not level, neither is the power of the players. Yep.  Fundamental rule here. If you are about to enter into a relationship with Nonprofit X who has most of the marbles, plan to spend a fair amount of time figuring out how Mr. X shares his marbles. Don’t be surprised if Mr. X takes his sweet time trusting you with his marbles.

2. Everybody has warts. Love this metaphor—it captures the notion that the day will come when imperfections will be noticed. This is a decision point. Do I look at the whole picture and continue to build something new and creative or do I walk away. If you are the type that allows imperfections to morph into a major distraction, you will have difficulty staying the course and keeping an eye on the prize: a new creation.

3. There will be disagreements and misunderstandings. Communication. Communication. Communication. That’s all that needs to be said.

4. Collaboration is hard! Collaboration is creating a solution that no party to the collaboration could separately achieve. Latin is difficult. Differential equations are hard. Collaboration takes leadership, effort and a fire in your belly.

How would you respond to the 4 reasons?


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