Has Collaboration Lost Its Way?


Robin Noah

Is the focus for collaboration saving money or how much more can be accomplished working together for the betterment of the clients?

The more I read and discuss the issues surrounding collaborative partnerships the more I am convinced that in today’s environment nonprofit organizations need to seek to work closely with one another in order to improve the service-delivery system that is critical to solving problems in their communities.

Nonprofit strategic collaboration is a challenge. Organizational leaders are managing organizations with diminishing resources, increased demand for services, and an understandable desire to serve as many people as possible. This creates a tremendous potential for sharing resources in innovative ways, aimed at the greater impact of what is possible when all work together. When collaboration is rooted in what is possible rather than a place of fear and scarcity, success is more likely. It takes time and planning.

Could it be that nonprofits need to find resources that would guide them as they develop an approach and a process that will allow the development of a collaborative organization that ultimately achieves their collaborative mission? Can they view their peers as partners rather than competition with a hands together effort that provides a win-win result?

It is by no means an easy task to undertake a collaborative project. This is one of those situations that need discussion, planning and action. Even when the directive or suggestion comes from a funder, nonprofit organizations can be successful. They have the skills and knowledge to enter into collaborative partnerships together with a successful outcome.

In my opinion nonprofits need to be provided the missing links; such as collaboration models, technical assistance and tools to facilitate collaboration that will guide the partners as they put their plans into effect, cooperatively addressing difficult community issues.

Author:  Robin Noah,  Executive Coaches of Orange County,  www.ECofOC.org