When it comes to managing a nonprofit organization, one thing tends to be on the forefront of everyone’s mind: moving the mission forward. How can you best accomplish your goals? How can you meet your fundraising deadline? How can you efficiently serve your clients and constituents? This can be a lot of weight on a single nonprofit’s shoulders.
Fortunately, not all of these decisions have to rely on one nonprofit. There is power in pairs. Nonprofit collaboration allows various organizations to join together and make even bigger strides in bettering their community and improving the world. Partnering with another nonprofit organization either in your area or nationally can provide a multitude of benefits to further your NPO’s mission. What exactly can a partnership do for your organization? Here are seven major benefits of nonprofit collaboration.
1. Save on administrative costs.
One of the greatest advantages of collaborating with a fellow nonprofit organization is saving on administrative costs. Rather than trying to cover all administrative costs of running an NPO yourself, you have the option of splitting those costs with a partner. Both organizations are able to save money through joint purchasing, sharing office supplies, transportation, expenses for facility rental and joint staff training.
Even sharing workspaces allows nonprofits to save on their administrative costs while encouraging collaboration and increasing visibility within the organization. For example, if one organization utilizes a space in the morning, the other could use it in the evenings. This savings on administrative costs gives your nonprofit the opportunity focus more on your mission, rather than on meeting internal financial needs.
2. Improve range of services.
Collaborating with another nonprofit organization also gives you the opportunity to improve the range of services provided. Different charities can have various focuses while still working toward the same overarching goal. Working with another nonprofit can give your organization access to new tools and resources in order to widen the range of services you provide.
For example, consider launching a joint initiative with another organization who has a similar—but slightly variant—mission. Collaboration like this can serve as a sort of referral program. So a nonprofit who serves the homeless community might partner with one who provides job training. One could refer clients to the job trainer for more resources, and the other could refer clients in need to the shelter for more services.
3. Bring about new ideas.
Of course, working together with a new organization brings in different individuals, different experiences and different backgrounds—the perfect mix for a plethora of new ideas. These collaborative think tanks can create solutions to problems which previously might have gone unsolved. If your organization wants to continue to move forward in its mission, then bringing in new ideas through nonprofit collaboration is a valuable component.
4. Add on new leadership.
Along with new ideas being brought into your organization, it also gives your nonprofit the opportunity for new leadership. When executives and board members from different NPOs bring together their expertise and knowledge in a cooperative effort, more strides can be made toward furthering your missions. Additionally, partnership invites new leadership to join and move the nonprofit in the right direction.
5. Increase brand exposure.
One major benefit of collaborating with a fellow nonprofit is increased visibility for your brand. Natural cross-promotion of each other’s organizations allows you to reach out to your partner’s network—and vice versa. Depending on the type of relationship you develop, the partner organization can feature your brand in everything from their website to social media platforms to traditional marketing efforts. This inherently doubles your marketing and branding efforts over operating as a single entity.
For example, if your nonprofit organization works primarily with a certain demographic, but a similar NPO works with different clients, nonprofit collaboration is a great way to reach out to those constituents and engage with them through both organizations.
6. Strengthen advocacy voice.
There’s always strength in numbers. When it comes to smaller nonprofits, it’s easy for their voices to be drowned out by larger organizations, businesses or the government. But by teaming up and collaborating with a like-minded entity, you have the opportunity to bolster your voice when it comes to advocating for your mission. The more numbers you have behind your mission, the louder your voice is and the greater impact you can have on the community.
7. Expand programs.
Finally, working and collaborating with a fellow nonprofit allows your organization to expand its current programs and build new ones. Maybe you already have similar programs that can be combined and made stronger by adding different components. Perhaps a wider range of resources and tools can make your programs more accessible at a cheaper cost. Or further, with leadership and more ideas readily available, you can create new programs altogether. Being able to expand on the programs your organization offers within the community is one of the greatest values of collaborating with another NPO.
While collaboration may not be the perfect route for every nonprofit organization, it is a valuable option worth consideration. Nonprofit collaboration gives your organization the opportunity to expand its resources, tools, programs and even fundraising efforts. Research and strategize within your organization to see if collaboration and partnership is the right next step for you.