From the Editor
We can do more together
Today, non-profits face an ever-shrinking revenue stream. The way I see it that can result in two completely different ways of thinking. Not wanting to work with a similar non-profit because you don’t want to compete for that revenue or give away your secrets for success, etc. Or you can recognize when your mission is the same and work together to make social change. Wouldn’t it be nice if the problems your non-profit worked on were solved and you were out of a job?
We have seen that kind of collaboration work here at DAC NW. After a successful partnership with Palouse Habitat for Humanity on our ramp project, we are now partnering with Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre to raise funds for a portable accessible stage lift.
Each nonprofit has its own unique “sphere of influence.” Any nonprofit, no matter how successful can only communicate with a finite number of people. But when that same nonprofit collaborates with another entity, their two spheres of influence combined can expand their ability to advance their shared goals and their individual missions. So while these partnerships require time, energy, and usually a financial cost, the upside can be enormously positive for moving an agenda forward, mobilizing stakeholders, or simply increasing a nonprofit’s ability to influence a greater number of people.
And grant makers frequently encourage non-profits to collaborate, and understanding administrative costs and overhead can help you utilize funding for partnering non-profits in an economical way.
I don’t think there is a single formula for partnering with another non-profit. You could choose to work collaboratively for a wide range of reasons, but mostly to be more efficient, increase effectiveness or drive broader social and systems change. You can enhance your programs and give broader reach, both without increasing your budget.
After we defining the shared goal with both of these partners, a sense of trust has to be built. You have to share both power and responsibility, take risks in front of your peers, and be honest about expected outcomes and sharing the credit. It can be reduced to “forming, storming, norming and performing”. Forming the partnership and team to define the scope of the project. Storming can represent the difficulty in working together when participants have different opinions. But it can also refer to the initial planning stage when you brainstorm all the different ideas. Here, more heads are better than one! Norming is when the partnership enters the smooth sailing phase, goals are being reached that are beneficial to both missions and the performing means that future cooperation can be anticipated.
Our partnership with the Kenworthy will ultimately make our communities more accessible. And in the process, we have having fun together, reaching new audiences, and expanding our effectiveness. Be sure to come out for the launch of this collaboration on October 2nd for a Zombie Fest held at the theater. Doors open at 6:30 for you to meet our zombies with disabilities, get yourself made up into a zombie, and watch a fun zombie film, Fido.
And who doesn’t love a good zombie?