How to Collaborate to Make Your Nonprofit Stronger

You’ve probably heard a dozen and half times that nonprofits need to stop duplicating services...but that’s a lot easier said than done. There’s also a lot more that goes into successful nonprofit work than trying to be different for the sake of being different. We really need to work together to create lasting change, and Megan Godbey from Nashville Public Library Foundation gave me some awesome advice for finding strategic collaborative partners and how to structure these relationships. I also talked with Stacia Freeman from Epic Girl to hear her give some examples of how her organization collaborates with nonprofit and for-profit community members.


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☑️ Make sure you begin a collaborative partnership for the right reason..

Collaboration is really difficult and long-term work, especially if it’s not the right way to solve the problem. Ask yourself, will this collaboration line up with both of our missions? Will we accomplish more working together than we would separately?

☑️ Set aside enough time and emotional space to nurture the collaboration.

You need to be ready to put in the work. Collaborating will require you to set your ego aside and focus on your goal. It may mean that you have to humble yourself and understand that another organization may be able to service the community better than your organization can in a specific area. (Listen to the full podcast episode for suggestions from Megan and Stacia on preparing for collaboration!)

☑️ Appoint a facilitator to organize the collaboration.

It’s really helpful to have someone act as a third-party facilitator if you have more than two organizations in a collaboration. This person can help hold all parties accountable and act as a mediator if necessary.

☑️ Create a framework for collaboration.

In my first interview with Megan, you’ll learn about the most essential points to include in your collaboration framework, including evaluation of mission statements, defining roles, and more.

☑️ Stay in your lane.

You can’t be all things to all people. This means your organization will not qualify for every funding source...but that’s okay! The nonprofit sector is all about serving our mission statements and one another. Instead of focusing on the competitive aspects the sector, do what you do best and serve others to the best of your abilities.

And if you need more help...

☑️ Email me and tell me what's going on at your nonprofit.

What are your current goals? What issues are you facing? Give me some background information, and we'll go from there! I never charge for an initial consultation, and I'll be honest if I can't help you. I'll also be happy to connect you with the other resources in my network who may be able to provide better advice or services for your situation.

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