Nonprofit Collaboration as an Important Social Change Tool
"Nonprofit collaboration has become an increasingly important social change tool—one that is needed now more than ever to address the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. But working with other organizations—whether in a loose affiliate network or movement, or in a more structured partnership or merger—requires a commensurate growth in collaboration capacity."
A recent article in Stanford Social Innovation Review by Heather McLeod Grant, Kate Wilkinson, and Mickey Butts underlines that "the scale of the issues that nonprofits are tackling—climate change, homelessness, racial justice, income inequality—feels too big for any one nonprofit or funder" and that "the scale of the impact these organizations hope to achieve—to change systems, not just symptoms—can be just as overwhelming."
According to the authors, for those funders who want to build local capacity for sustained collaboration, they should keep in mind some practical advice from those with experience like getting boards involved and fostering transparency and trust.
Ultimately, sustained collaborations are about growth and change, and about achieving more impact with limited dollars. Funders can help organizations come together and they can continue to do more of the same, organization by organization. Fortunately, it’s not an either/or decision. Funders can and will do both. The more forward-thinking among them will also join forces with other funders to magnify the impact of their philanthropic work by supporting formal, long-term collaboration among nonprofits. In the process, they will achieve more lasting impact.