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The Center for Association Resources is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

Collaboration with other NPOs: A Win-Win Situation


Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

The Center for Association Resources presents

Collaboration with other NPOs: A Win-Win Situation

An avenue worth exploring for your non-profit – whether you are a start-up or a mature organization – is collaboration with one or more other NPOs whose missions and goals are complementary to yours. As budgets get squeezed tighter and tighter, and effort spent on fundraising becomes more and more time-consuming, it might pay to see how your group can create synergies with other organizations.

For new NPOs, initial goals will include plans to raise funds in both the short- and long-term. How you go about that fundraising is a topic for another blog post; this article will focus on a perhaps untapped resource in your local network of charitable organizations – other NPOs that are more established.

These other groups already have a track record of success, so try to tap into their expertise. (At the same time, examine your organization to see what you bring to the table. This should be a win-win situation for all involved.) How can you find these complementary organizations? Start out local, by checking with the United Way in your locale for a list of organizations they support. Websites such as www.charitynavigator.com and www.guidestar.com have searchable databases that you can access for free. Additionally, the National Center for Charitable Statistics (part of the Urban Institute) allows you to search its public database of charities by NTEE (National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities). You can access the database by visiting http://bit.ly/umPHm.

Once you have made a connection with an organization similar to yours, what sorts of collaborative events can you host? For starters, a lot of groups host annual fundraisers designed to bring visibility – and cash – to the organization and its mission. Perhaps your NPO can partner with another to cohost such an event, with proceeds split appropriately between the two groups. The power of collaboration has the possibility of providing synergies, as the groups work together on marketing and promoting the event, as well as logistics. Consider also the possibility of sharing back-office functions as a way to reduce overhead costs. Truly, the possibilities of what you can do with other NPOs is limited only by your imagination. Who knows – working together for mutual benefit could even lead to a merger of the two separate organizations into one larger group that is stronger and more efficient.

The bottom-line question that must be asked is, what do you really stand to gain from collaborating with other NPOs? Can they really provide anything you wouldn’t be able to secure on your own? After all, competition exists in every facet of public and private business in America, and in that respect NPOs aren’t that much different from corporate America. You might be trying to engage the same groups of people as donors or competing for the same government grants, for example. But NPOs might be better off if they work together. It’s already a difficult marketplace to survive and thrive in, and NPOs face specific dilemmas unique to their distinctive manner of practicing business, particularly as it relates to raising funds. If you can learn from other NPOs, you can either take a leaf from their book, or, conversely, you can gauge where and how other NPOs are succeeding and learn what resources might be available to your organization.

The Center for Association Resources can be found at http://Association-Resources.com/ – Contact Robert Patterson for your Non-Profit association needs.

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Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info

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