Giving Compass' Take:

The Knowledge Management Collaborative is an exemplary model of a sustainable collaborative that supports learning and creativity and diversity of roles at the table.

How can donors support stronger collaborative efforts to pursue social missions? What are the key components of an effective collaborative?

Read about the benefits of collaborative philanthropy.

In the philanthropic sector, we often get lost in the latest buzzwords about how to rethink our strategies and maximize impact, individually and collectively.

Over the last couple of years, the buzzword of the moment has been collaboration and building collaboratives – a collective of organizations or individuals that work together to create something stronger than what they could produce alone. Talking about this is easier than putting it into practice because collaboration requires trust, varying levels and types of expertise and centrally organized management, all of which require a long-term investment of time and resources.

Philanthropy New York is an active member of the Knowledge Management (KM) Collaborative, a more than a decade-long technology collaborative managed by United Philanthropy Forum. Since PNY joined the collaborative as a founding member, the group has grown from five organizations to 32.

At its core, the collaborative supports each member in the development and improvement of our respective membership databases and websites.

However, what has been so exciting to see is how the network has not just generated technology capacity but also enabled us to build smarter and stronger philanthropic support organizations through our discussions and partnerships. Since the collaborative originated, organizations and individuals have continuously supported each other’s learning and creativity, and from that we regularly develop new automation and functionality together.

The KM Collaborative is successful not just because of the content of the work but also because of the trust that exists between the members – and with the funders who have supported the work. Foundations demonstrated trust is us by providing flexible funding and by understanding when timelines needed to shift, as is often the case with technology projects.

Read the full article about building sustainable collaboratives by  Allyson Goldhagen at United Philanthropy Forum.