Like money-making businesses, your nonprofit should be on the lookout for partnerships that can add value to your goals and outcomes. By joining a nonprofit collaboration, you can ensure the long-term viability of your charity and make it more efficient. Collaboration is a major part of the for-profit world and is increasingly becoming a potent option for nonprofits.
Certainly, for nonprofits facing financial difficulties or an uncertain future, a charity collaboration could be the answer. Even for stable organizations, a partnership with another nonprofit can bring several significant benefits.
Some of those benefits include:
- Saving on costs
- Increasing scope and service reach
- A way to develop new innovative ideas
- Increase visibility
- Expand goals
Read on to see how each of these can have a positive impact on your charity. One of the main reasons to enter a nonprofit collaboration is to continue the mission of your charity and move the vision forward. In fact, this should be the most important activity of any charitable group: getting the message out there.
Managing a nonprofit is often a thankless task that requires constant juggling. How do you forward the mission to accomplish goals? What can you do to ensure supporters remain engaged and onboard? How do you reach fundraising goals?
Sometimes, one group alone can’t answer these questions, especially when most nonprofits are humble operations. Joining a charity collaboration with another nonprofit can help to spread the burden and make decisionmaking more efficient.
Whether you find another small nonprofit in your area or link with a bigger charity, there are many benefits to be gained from a nonprofit collaboration:
One of the biggest problems for charities is keeping up with expenses. Donations and support can go a long way, but sometimes the money simply dries up. When nonprofits cut costs, they can often also start to cut corners and not work towards their mission goals. Entering a charity collaboration can help to keep your nonprofit running at peak performance.
Two is better than one in most business scenarios, and one of the major cost benefits of a nonprofit collaboration is saving on admin. Splitting the administrative costs can help to reduce overheads significantly, whether its purchasing, transport, building rental, or even buying pens and paper. Sharing a workspace can be a major cost saver and will also breed direct collaboration between the two nonprofits.
However, collaboration should not be confused with a merger. Even when sharing a space, two collaborating nonprofits will still be independent entities.
Promote New Ideas
By its very nature, a charity collaboration allows people from two organizations to connect, interact, and innovate. Two minds are often better than one and collaborations often give rise to new ideas. Maybe the nonprofit you partner with introduces a concept you have never considered before. Perhaps your partner can build upon an existing idea and help to see it through to fruition.
When developing a nonprofit collaboration, you should strive to encourage ideas to flow. Set up think tanks and work on solutions to problems. Innovation is often born in situations where people are bouncing ideas off each other.
Operating as a sole nonprofit, you have had your methods for developing services and delivering them. Often, these methods have been informed by the limitations you face as a single operator. Linking up with another nonprofit can help you expand the services you offer. Different nonprofits have separate ways of handling their output, even if they work towards the same goal.
For example, if you are a small charity working in one area of a city and have always wanted to expand into other areas, a nonprofit collaboration could help. You could link with a charity located in your chosen expansion area and work to deliver your service there. Of course, this scenario could mean helping your nonprofit partner rollout their charity in your service areas.
Find New Goals
When two nonprofits collaborate, there’s usually an opportunity to look at your mission and reassess goals. No, this does not mean abandoning your original vision, but it could mean looking at ways to expand it or allow it to evolve. A charity collaboration can help you expand your nonprofit endeavors into areas associated with your original goal without compromising that original mission.
Boost Your Brand
Make no mistake, advertising is just as important for a nonprofit as it is for a profit-making enterprise. At its core, advertising is about reaching as many people as possible and enticing them to connect with your service. In terms of an nonprofit, this means getting as many people to support your mission as possible.
Developing a nonprofit collaboration can help you expand the exposure your brand receives. Maybe the nonprofit you link with has a bigger marketing reach and connects with more people. Depending on the scope of your partnership, they may be willing to include your charity in their marketing. This could be as simple as placing a link and blog on their website to mentioning the charity collaboration in press releases and other media.
Give Your Advocacy Power a Boost
A large part of running an nonprofit is pushing for change in your specific area of expertise. Smaller nonprofits often get drowned out and their voice is never heard as they lobby governments and the private sector. Through a nonprofit collaboration, it is easier to get your voice heard. This is one area where you may consider teaming with more than one nonprofit.
Entering into a wider charity collaboration to create an advocacy group can give your chosen mission a significant voice. Of course, you should be entering into such large collaborations only with nonprofits that share a similar goal and are in the same area as you. For example, if your charity focuses on inner-city homelessness, teaming with other nonprofits in the same sector could create a powerful advocacy group.
Consider Your Options
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to enter a nonprofit collaboration. While the benefits are many, it is worth noting that collaboration is not always the best path for every nonprofit. Sometimes there’s no need to enter a charity collaboration, especially if your organization is thriving on its own. It’s important to weigh up the options and decide which is the perfect route for your nonprofit.