The notion that two heads are better than one couldn’t be more appropriate when discussing nonprofit collaboration. Nonprofit collaboration encourages organizations to come together and leverage each other’s strengths to make a greater difference. Partnering with nonprofits is commonplace and advantageous for everyone involved. By working together, nonprofits can extend their reach, pool resources, and increase their influence.
So, if your nonprofit wants to find out how to successfully collaborate with other organizations and the many benefits of doing so, keep reading!
What We’ll Cover
What Is Nonprofit Collaboration?
Nonprofit collaboration is based on the idea of collective impact. This is when organizations unite to work towards a common goal and make their collective impact significantly greater than if each organization worked alone. Nonprofit collaboration can take many forms, such as joint fundraising activities, shared marketing campaigns, shared resources, shared training and education opportunities, and many more.
Why Do Nonprofits Collaborate?
There are many reasons nonprofits look to collaborate, but here are some of the most popular:
- When tackling an issue could be more successful with multiple sources of expertise.
- When a nonprofit’s project requires additional funding or resources to move forward or save it from being lost.
- When the situation or environment suddenly demands a more cohesive or aligned approach.
Nonprofit collaboration has many benefits for both organizations involved. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Increase reach and influence by capitalizing on each other’s strengths. This results in a growing donor base and boosting brand recognition.
- Reduce costs by pooling resources and sharing the expenses of projects (this can be through financial contributions and in-kind donations).
- Lessen competition between organizations and create a more supportive environment by working together to achieve the same goals.
- Foster innovation and creativity by combining the different perspectives and skills of the organizations involved. Developing new ideas and certain strategies may not be possible if each organization works alone.
Many different models of nonprofit collaboration can be used, including formal and informal collaborations, as well as project-based and time-limited collaborations.
Here are some of the most common:
In this model, which can also be referred to as cross-promotional collaboration, two or more organizations come together to create a new venture that combines the strengths and resources of each organization.
A popular example of this is content sharing. Technology is playing a crucial role in cross-promotion; websites and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest open up many opportunities for organizations to support each other. Most nonprofits and organizations have their own websites, with blogs to optimize their digital marketing and SEO objectives. By swapping content, promoting blog exchanges, and setting up webinars and conferences, collaborating organizations can expand their reach, teach supporters about their mission, and enhance their brand to their diverse audiences.
Many nonprofits are decentralizing their fundraising activities and partnering up with each other. This works especially when one organization wants to take the funds and distribute them to a partner organization that may not have 501c3 or charitable status or provide needed resources for the fundraiser.
A fun example of using events for nonprofit collaboration could be accomplished with a community walk-a-thon or 5K race where donations are split between beneficiary organizations.
Strategic alliances are formed when two or more organizations come together to collaborate on a specific project or initiative. This is often done when the organizations have different strengths and can benefit from each other’s expertise. For example, this could be a collaboration to address community needs or sharing research and reports to increase the positive impact.
In this model, two or more organizations come together to collaborate on a specific project and share the costs of the project. This is often done when one organization has the expertise to complete the project but needs funding to do so. Oftentimes, this can be done with a collaboration between a charity and a corporate partner.
The possibilities for nonprofit collaborations are virtually endless. To get a better idea, here are just a few examples of the many different types of collaborations that are possible:
- An animal rescue organization partnering with a local animal shelter to create a joint fundraising event
- Two environmental organizations coming together to create an awareness campaign about the importance of recycling
- A community health organization partnering with a local hospital to provide health screenings for underserved populations
- An educational nonprofit partnering with a technology company to create a program to teach computer coding to underserved youth
5 Tips for Partnering with Other Organizations
We’ve seen that partnering with other organizations can be a great way to increase your impact, but how is it done?
Here are some tips for partnering with nonprofit organizations:
Before you start looking for collaborators, take some time to think about what type of partner you’re looking for.
- Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each organization and how they complement each other.
- Recognize there are limitations to what your nonprofit can do on its own. Embrace the optimistic, open-minded attitude that’s essential for a successful collaboration.
- Get to know each partner’s core values, mission, and culture to ensure that your group is aligned with them. This helps build trust and fortifies the collective impact.
It’s no secret that social media influencers have grown in popularity recently. Blogging, creating viral videos, and sharing content on numerous social media platforms, are where influencer marketing becomes valuable to your nonprofit. The number of influencers is virtually limitless. Nonprofit organizations can team up with celebs, experts in the field, or individuals with a wide reach and boost online visibility. Collaborations can give nonprofits more opportunities to grow than they would get through traditional methods of building brand recognition.
Just make sure that before you join forces with an influencer, their image and message are in line with the mission and image of the nonprofit.
Before you start working together, it’s important to establish clear goals and expectations.
- Ensure that all organizations involved are on the same page and that everyone is working towards the same objectives.
- Be flexible to adapt if something isn’t working out as planned – remember that collaboration is all about the shared mission or goal, above anything else.
When you’re partnering with a nonprofit, it’s important to create a timeline for the project and set deadlines for when each phase of the project should be completed. This will help to ensure that the project stays on track and that everyone is working together to meet the project’s goals.
Regular communication is key when it comes to nonprofit partnerships.
- Make sure to schedule regular meetings and check-ins with your partner organization to ensure that the project is progressing as planned.
- Be honest and transparent at all times to strengthen trust.
- Be prepared to share any concerns as well as appreciation while being open to accepting positive criticism and vital feedback.
Once you’ve identified a partner and established goals and expectations, make sure to sign a partnership agreement. This will help to ensure that both organizations are held accountable for their commitments and that the partnership is legally binding.
Nonprofit Partnership Agreements
A nonprofit partnership agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the responsibilities and expectations of both organizations involved in the partnership. This document should include details about the project, including the goals and objectives, timeline, budget, and any other relevant information. It should also include a clause for terminating the partnership if either party fails to meet its obligations.
A partnership agreement is an important document that should be taken seriously. Make sure to consult a lawyer or other legal professional before signing a partnership agreement.
Nonprofits collaborating with other organizations can boost success while extending resources and reputation. So, if you’re looking for ways to increase your impact, consider partnering with another nonprofit to create a greater impact than either organization could have achieved on its own.