One sign of long-term sustainability and success within a sector is a healthy distribution or ecosystem of organizations along the spectrum of size. The Portland area for example is home to a wide variety of arts organizations, but those groups can almost entirely be defined as either large anchor institutions or small startup groups serving niche audiences. There are very few midsize organizations. The initial reaction to the current spread in an area like Portland can be either to invest heavily in a number of small organizations to help them transition to the midsize level or identify groups with a similar focus to merge, creating a single, larger group.

These ideas are valid yet may not be as successful as some would hope. Increasing the financial footing of a nonprofit to facilitate substantial growth takes time and should be done thoughtfully to ensure sustainability. Identifying groups with adequately similar focuses and values for a merger can be just as difficult, and that’s before we consider the challenge of asking passionate founders to step away from their personal investment in order to facilitate a joint venture.

There is, however, a third option. Nonprofits can reap the benefits associated with a much larger organization by thoughtfully collaborating with other, similarly sized organizations. In fact, many organizations may find success in navigating the coming challenges related to the pandemic by introducing innovative collaborative strategies. Here are a few examples of how collaboration between nonprofits can help promote sustainability and see groups flourish in the long term.

  • Share space.
  • Share talent.
  • Conduct joint events.
  • Promote each other.

Read the full article about nonprofit collaboration by Steven Moore at Forbes.