While it’s not very common in the not-for-profit sector, partnerships between two organizations is becoming a more popular method of attaining a specific goal. When two groups come together, they frequently bring with them two different pools of potential donors from which to draw. In addition, the two organizations bring twice the resources (human and otherwise), the experience, and the enthusiasm. And don’t forget twice the policies, the history, and the personalities.
Even though the benefits of merging efforts generally far outweigh the negatives, it is so important for everyone involved to be on the same page, with the same motivation toward a common goal. Sometimes this requires team building to ensure everyone is feeling a part of the common purpose. Other times it may mean an impartial third party is brought in to act as a liaison between the two groups, ensuring all points of view are expressed and considered. It may even mean one organization’s leadership must defer to the other’s to make forward progress.
We have worked with several clients who had partners to help achieve their goals. The key takeaways learned from all of these experiences have been CREATIVITY and FLEXIBILITY. When leadership has the ability to think creatively about a problem it often times turns into an opportunity. Similarly, flexibility is vital when working with volunteers and donors. In all of the partnership situations we have been a part of, the fundraising goals were exceeded in time frames shorter than anticipated. There were lots of driving forces behind the results, but we believe much of it had to do with adopting a creative and flexible approach to campaigning. How flexible and creative is your organization’s campaign? Maybe we can help.