In one of my recent articles, I discussed the question “should you go forward alone”?  In my next series of articles, I will elaborate on that question and provide insight as to which direction your nonprofit should go.  You might ask why?  Why would you delve into that issue when I would rather hear about how to improve my fundraising or how to get my board more involved.

The answer is simple: I believe tens of thousands of nonprofits will go out of business in the next year.  Because of surging infections, hundreds of thousands of small businesses will close permanently.  Unfortunately, this will also impact the nonprofit field.   In fact, as I’m writing this, a report in the current Chronicle of Philanthropy, projects “7% of nonprofits will close over the next 36 months.” Why not get ahead of the curve and ensure your mission will continue and your clients served in partnership with a similar organization? Current research shows there is a much greater demand for more formal, structured collaboration among nonprofits than ever before.

In their recent publication, Building Capacity for Sustained Collaboration, Heather McLeod Grant, Kate Wilkinson and Mickey Butts share invaluable insights into nonprofit collaboration.  They present key information and data about the rationales, processes and resources available to nonprofits which have decided they cannot “go forward alone”, yet do not want to abandon their mission and clients.  The board and staff leadership of those nonprofits are putting mission and client service above their own boundaries, history and culture.

Why Pursue This Strategy?

Here are just a few reasons put forward by experts in this field:

  • Growing and sustaining impact is more important than individual organizations.
  • Demand from funders is growing for more formal, structured collaboration.
  • There is a skyrocketing demand for services coupled with falling revenue and an uncertain future.
  • 65% of nonprofits serving low-income communities cannot meet the increasing demand
  • Two-thirds of nonprofits cannot offer competitive pay
  • For 62% of nonprofits, achieving financial sustainability is their strongest challenge.

Kristin Scott Kennedy, chief of staff for the Council of Foundations, summed it up best: “We need folks coming together in partnership to move the needle.  They cannot work in silos”.

In my next article, we will discuss the benefits of pursuing a strategic partnership with another  compatible nonprofit.  In the meantime, call Mirenda & Associates for a free, 30-minute consultation to discuss your challenges and possible solutions.