Here at the Center we often we receive pertinent and thought provoking questions, like the one we received a week ago: what is the difference between partnership and collaboration? It seems that collaboration has become a hot topic lately, especially with grant writing and funders. Everyone wants to know who you collaborate with. After all, no man is an island. So, after a google search and numerous articles, here’s our take.
Collaboration is an open, inclusive process or decision making tool to engage a broad array of diverse entities to come together to find solutions or the best creative outcome for problems/issues but aren’t bound contractually. Collaborative partnerships are essential to addressing emerging issues and trends. Think about the collaborations with your organization. It’s a group of people with a common goal addressing an issue, like homelessness. Poverty. Domestic Violence. These issues are too overwhelming and daunting to tackle alone.
What then is a partnership? A partnership is a relationship created through an expressed or implied commitment between two or more parties who join together to achieve a common goal, combining their assets to achieve that goal. Partnerships work best when the common goals are better achieved together than separately, have evident and tangible benefits to all. Partnerships, in fact, are relationships. Relationships with donors. Relationships with board members. And relationships with funders.
Collaboration, or “co-labor” is crucial when it comes to the partnerships we have with funders and donors. Everyone wants to fund those who collaborate…it demonstrates that we can play nice and work together, that we share our toys in the sandbox and support one another. It’s so much more fun when we share the work and enjoy the outcome together. It’s like being part of a relay team. Each person has a certain role, working towards one specific mission: fighting hunger. Preventing suicide. Bringing awareness to mental health.
Partnerships and collaboration are important to evolve and develop as organizations, equally important in moving the organization in the right direction. After all, if collaboration is good enough for Vanilla Ice, it’s good enough for us.
Sources: 1 and 2
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