Collaboration – Everybody’s Doing It
|January 8, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Management, Program Model, Research||
Here’s your one word resolution for 2015 – collaborate. If you already are, do it strategically and more often. If you aren’t, you are missing out on a highly adaptable, relatively low-cost way to increase impact. A December 2014 study from the Bridgespan Group, in conjunction with The Lodestar Foundation, found that collaboration isn’t just a popular topic in the nonprofit sector – it’s actually happening and it’s working well for the majority of players.
Highlights from the study,
Collaboration is happening. The trend is real. Over 90 percent of the nonprofit leaders surveyed had participated in one of the forms of collaboration examined by the study (associations, joint programs, shared support functions, and mergers) within the last three years, with 54 percent participating in at least two forms. The majority (93 percent) of nonprofit executives expect to become involved in additional collaboration during 2015.
People in the sector like it. The majority (over 70 percent) of nonprofit executives described the collaborations they participated in as successful. Only a small percentage of each type of collaboration did not achieve their intended goals, according to respondent ratings.
People in the sector intend to do more of it. Both nonprofit executives and foundations reported their intention to do more collaboration in the future. Funders want to see more collaboration in the sector, specifically shared support functions (76 percent) and mergers (55 percent).
Additional findings, including the very real challenges facing quality collaboration, are included in the brief Making Sense of Nonprofit Collaborations by Alex Neuhoff, Katie Smith Milway, Reilly Kiernan, and Josh Grehan, available at the Bridgespan Group website.
One note of caution. Before you get the urge to start trimming programs also offered by peer organizations or make merger your “word for 2015,” check out the article Again, Nonprofit Mergers are no Cure All at Nonprofit Quarterly. Collaboration takes many forms and not all may be the best fit for your mission, constituency or bottom line. If collaboration is your resolution for 2015 then, as with all resolutions, start slowly, research what will work best for you, and keep at it.