Another month, another great Talk. My company, Shifting Patterns, co-hosted a spirited discussion with members of the UnSectored community. We discussed what makes a successful cross-sector collaboration, why people collaborate, and when they should. A full summary is below.
What are we missing here? What didn’t we discuss?
Summary from ”Effective Methods and Conditions for Collaboration Across Sectors”
- Setting expectations at the beginning of a partnership is important to making sure everyone is there for the right reasons and that no one misunderstands the others’ intentions.
- However, because there are often collaborations between organizations with different levels of perceived power–such as in the case of a funder/nonprofit collaboration–it is hard to set realistic expectations that are mutually beneficial for both actors. Involving money in the partnership always shifts the dynamics–and we need to figure out how to level that playing field.
- Collaborations across sectors, or even within sectors, are essential to accomplish any sort of large goals, as no one organization can take on large problems on their own.
- However, it is important to not collaborate for the sake of collaboration–it has to make sense for all partners involved.
- Organizations must both know what they can give and what they need to get out of a collaboration. Without knowing themselves, they can’t be an effective partner.
- As the collaboration evolves, needs and priorities change. There must be awareness of these changes to make sure each organization is still in the collaboration for the right reasons.
- Fostering trust is essential to having a successful collaboration. WIthout trust amongst all actors, there cannot be hard conversations to work through the inevitable problems that come with working with other organizations.
- At the end of the day, all organizations are made up of individuals, and it is individuals who make collaborations happen. Successful collaborations are all about successful relationships, so it is important to build and maintain individual relationships between organizations.