Giving Compass’ Take:
• Community Wealth Partners discusses the methods of collaborations among nonprofits and foundations, giving us several touchstones to follow that emphasize intentionality.
• Are we following the principles listed here when we partner with other organizations? How can we make sure missions are aligned in these efforts?
How we collaborate matters greatly. A few years ago, a national foundation brought together a group of state-based funders to address education. Though the goal was clear, the national foundation’s intentions and agenda were not. One brave regional funder asked the national foundation the question many had been wondering: “Why did you bring us together?” The best collaboration frameworks, decision-making processes, working group structures, communication protocols and other tactical elements would be ineffective if the group did not first address power dynamics and receive upfront transparency from the national foundation.
As that experience demonstrates, collaborating isn’t enough; it is critical that we are intentional about how we do so. Though many grantmakers recognize the importance of collaboration, more emphasis should be put on the underlying values that guide collaboration.
Here are 7 principles to consider when participating in nonprofit and philanthropic collaboration:
- Each collaboration should aim to achieve a clear social good. Collaboration is not self-justifying.
- How we collaborate is as important as the goals we seek to accomplish. While it is important to have a goal, considerate and values-driven process matters in collaboration. The ends do not justify the means.
- The social currency, trust and relationships that evolve as part of a collaboration are just as important as — and play a critical role in contributing to — the programmatic outcomes a collaboration seeks to achieve.
- Collaborations should seek to elevate voices from the affected individuals/communities and provide space for their leadership.
- Participants in collaborations should acknowledge power differentials and prioritize an active approach to dealing with them.
- Collaboration carries explicit and implicit costs. The principle of equity should guide resource allocations, including, where appropriate, compensating for participation.
- Reflection and learning are deliberate acts to ensure that a collaborative is living its values and best serving the membership, the community, and the stated goal.
Read the full article about the principles to consider in collaboration by Community Wealth Partners at medium.com.
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