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In this session, panelists Bob Harrington and Kate Barr shared their reflections on what’s possible when organizations come together for long-term durable partnerships. Moderated by Jenifer Holland, the panel offered insights about what works, pitfalls to avoid, and strategies for nonprofit leaders interested in exploring options for collaboration. Here are some of the session’s takeaways:
- Partnerships come in all shapes and sizes. While some nonprofits join forces to conduct mutual client referrals and or to merge corporate structures, a vast and varied range of partnerships can be found between those two poles.
- Successful collaborators are always scanning the horizon. The practice of taking stock of other nonprofits in your operating environment need not be relegated to a sustainability planning exercise.
- Thoughtful partnerships are intentional. Even if the partnership itself wasn’t planned from ground zero, such as was the case with EMPath (an organization profiled on The Power of Possibility website), in the big picture, the kind of partnerships that surpass short-term serial relationships take time.
- Proactive honesty is the best policy. Nonprofit leaders sometimes worry about what others with think if they engage in a mutual exploration of a long-term collaboration with one another. What will donors think? What will staff think? What will the community-at-large or other stakeholders think? Thankfully, you don’t have to have a crystal ball to communicate effectively. A commitment to sharing information proactively as you consider long-term strategic alliances and partnerships goes a long way toward building and retaining trust — even if the message is simple or not-yet-comprehensive.
Read the full article about strategic partnerships at BoardSource.