Foundations and nonprofits alike are talking about collaboration and -- more specifically -- about strategic restructuring as a way to achieve higher impact, create sustainable change and address organizational and environmental challenges.
The Foundation Center wanted to know - how are funders supporting strategic collaboration, and how are nonprofits engaging in such partnerships with each other?
In pursuit of these questions, we plumbed the depths of our Nonprofit Collaboration Database to locate 10 nonprofit collaborators from all across the country who could tell us about their own experiences with strategic restructuring. We asked them questions like:
- Why were you collaborating?
- What are the challenges to effective collaboration?
- How are foundations supporting your collaboration, and how do you wish they would have supported you?
Their recorded interviews provided us with instructive suggestions we could share with other nonprofits and foundations who might be seeking tips for effective collaboration. But we didn't stop there.
To get the philanthropic community's perspective on this crucial topic, we partnered with LaPiana Consulting and the Tides Center to hold a funder convening earlier this spring in San Francisco, a daylong session in which 10 grantmakers participated. Together, what they found was that there is a shift in the way nonprofits and foundations are thinking about partnerships; rather than seeking to merge primarily to secure funding or gain efficiency, the focus is increasingly on partnerships to build assets and optimize services. One funder characterized strategic restructuring as a tool nonprofits can use to "spiral up".
From this convening, funders shared tips that can help other funders and nonprofits understand more about effective collaboration.
With these two sources of pooled knowledge in hand -- the funder convening and the nonprofit interviews -- we've created a handy infographic for the Alliance for Nonprofit Management 2012 conference (hashtag: #anm12). The infographic captures some of the best practices shared by these two sides of the social sector. Click here to view the infographic >>
For more information on strategic collaboration, check out:
- Nonprofit Collaboration Database >>
- Collaboration page on GrantSpace >>
- GrantSpace podcast archive (including the collaboration interviews) >>
- LaPiana: How Grantmakers Can Support Strategic Collaboration >>
- Collaborating For Good (video) >>