Collaborating with Partners on Joint Grants: Do's And Don'ts


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More and more funders prefer (or require) organizations to leverage their resources by collaborating with complementary partners. In a world where competition is often more common than cooperation, how do we navigate these waters? This workshop will showcase some successful collaborations that involved joint grantseeking, and offer pointers on how you can succeed too!

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Collaborating with Partners on Joint Grants: Do's And Don'ts

  1. 1. Collaborating with Partners on Joint Grants: Do’s And Donts Dalya Massachi March 21, 2012A Service Of: Sponsored by:
  2. 2. INTEGRATED PLANNING Advising nonprofits in: • Strategy • Planning (617) 969-1881 • Organizational Development info@synthesispartnership.comA Service Of: Sponsored by:
  3. 3. Affordable collaborative data management in the cloud.A Service Of: Sponsored by:
  4. 4. Today’s Speaker Dalya Massachi Founder Writing for Community SuccessAssisting with chat questions: Hosting:April Hunt, Nonprofit Webinars Sam Frank, Synthesis PartnershipA Service Of: Sponsored by:
  6. 6. OPPORTUNITY TO LEVERAGE Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 6
  7. 7. “A tapestry woven ofpromises, obligations,self-interests, multipleagendas, assumptions,communication styles, andleadership styles of everystripe and hue, thecollaboration is a workof abstract art withtremendous concreteresults.” - Vince Hyman, Fieldstone Alliance Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 7
  8. 8. QUESTION Have you been involved in acollaborative project like this? Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 8
  9. 9. BEYOND FUNDING FOR “ISOLATED IMPACT”Today’s world isinterdependent! Nosingle org can solveany major socialproblem(e.g., climate change) Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 9
  10. 10. SESSION OBJECTIVESToday, you’ll be able to identify:• Reasons to collaborate• Essentials in selecting collaborators• How to streamline joint proposals• Pitfalls to avoid: showstoppers Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 10
  11. 11. MANY TYPES OF COLLABORATIONS• Vary by intensity and commitment• Today’s focus: specific programmatic collaborations Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 11
  12. 12. COLLABORATING 2 X1) To design and implement the program (e.g. service delivery, advocacy, etc.)2) To apply for and manage the joint grant Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 12
  13. 13. “HOW COME YOU ALL DON’T JUST COMBINE FORCES?”• We’re so passionate, concerned about our own sub-issues that we can neglect the potential allies out there• Often allow narrow org interests to take precedence over larger community interests Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 13
  14. 14. GOOD REASONS TO COLLABORATE• 2+ heads are often better than 1!• Make a bigger difference than alone• Require more than just 1 org has• Maximize resources; Save $• Show you are well-integrated• Build on strengths/complement weaknesses• Avoid duplicating services• Learn from others’ experiences• Reap benefits of economy of scale• Establish a strong collective voice/presenceNOT just to answer an RFP Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 14
  15. 15. TAKE A HINT FROM THE CORP WORLD• Number of marketing partnerships of airline frequent flyer programs• Customers can earn miles or get discounts with many credit cards, hotels, car rental companies, restaurants, and even retail stores. In turn, the businesses involved reap the benefits of expanding their market share. Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 15
  16. 16. EXAMPLE:Tenderloin Technology LabPartners: San Francisco Network Ministries &St. Anthony Foundation• Collaboration for 4 years and counting• Tripled their program capacity• Reduced program costs by 50%• Attracted more media, web presence, requests for partnerships, community buy-in Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 16
  17. 17. NYC EXAMPLEHenry Street Settlement, Recycle-a-Bicycle,local public schools, after-school programs:•New York City youth and young adults from low-income neighborhoods repair donated bicycles• Sell or donate them back to the community• Participants learn about the environmental benefits of bicycling and conservation• Since opening its doors in 1995, they’ve recovered or spared 109 tons from the citys waste stream Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 17
  18. 18. 2011 COLLABORATION PRIZE: Adoption Coalition of Texas• 5 nonprofit child-placing agencies, TX Department of Child Protective Services• Austin Community Foundation : financial accounting, grants management, HR, other back-office support• Shared mission : finding “forever families” for kids languishing in the foster care system• Result: Annual adoptions increased from 370 to well over 700 Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 18
  19. 19. WRITING WORKOUTTake a few moments to jot down how your work fitsinto the larger picture of your community’s well-being:• Are you picking up where other orgs leave off ?• Are you breaking new ground or starting a trend that will create possibilities for your field or industry?• Do you serve a crucial intermediary function that other important systems need to work well? Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 19
  20. 20. CHOOSE YOUR PARTNERS WISELY!• Provide similar/complementary services or programs• Have self-interest(s) that will be met by project• Enthusiastic re: working together• Play well with others (organized, flexible, dependable, transparent)• Offer a diversity of viewpoints• Have some of the required expertise and resources• Are credible, respected in community, with funders• Want accountability from everyone (including funders), even if leadership shifts over time• Ideal size: 2-8 Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 20
  21. 21. TO DISCUSS DURING PLANNING• Buy-in from org leaders, key stakeholders: joint ownership• Why each is engaging, how much• Agree on project’s mission, scope, purpose: must have shared goals and vision• Agree on way of defining, measuring success• Each partner carves out a specialty for leadership• Process for dealing with conflict, informed failure Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 21
  22. 22. COLLABORATIVE WRITING• Encourages and models debate, discussion of best practices, current thinking• Offers excellent opportunity to mentor the less experienced writers• Team can develop more proposals, initiate more programs – based on template Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 22
  23. 23. PROPOSAL WRITING ROLES• Team Leader• Reviewers• Budget Developer• Researcher/Lit Reviewer (for background)• Needs Assessment Coordinator• Outside Experts (on evaluation, etc.)• Only 1 Final Editor! Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 23
  24. 24. SET SOME EXPECTATIONS• How available will each person be at critical points in the writing?• How open is everyone to constructive criticism?• How will you handle areas of disagreement or different interpretations? Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 24
  25. 25. HOW TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS• Start writing AFTER the planning starts• Divide up the writing tasks according to content, formatting expertise• Agree on how to share overall and specific edits• Set due dates and meeting times (live/conf call)• Meet to come to consensus on questionable areas• Celebrate proposal teamwork Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 25
  26. 26. EXAMPLE: Gooden College Connection• Met to read RFP together, ID central points/questions/concerns• Brainstormed idea, outlined• Created a joint Logic Model• Appointed a grant administrator• Each partner provided bios/org descriptions, program plans, background data, budgets• Appointed 1 proposal editor; set deadlines for submission to her; drafts circulated for comment• Administrator approved, submitted final draft Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 26
  27. 27. LETTERS OF SUPPORT• On org letterhead• Signed by highest authority• Time commitment to planning process• Acknowledgement of other partners, their contributions• Commitment to the agreed-upon vision, focus, intended results, strategies• Statement of what they expect to get in return• Listing of resources to be contributed• Confirmation that the individual has authority to devote resources from own org Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 27
  28. 28. MOU: LIVING CONTRACT• List of stakeholders: interests, roles• Shared assumptions• Program: vision, mission, strategies• Timelines, milestones• Resource needs for project• Norms: participation, conflict management, decision-making, communication• Payment schedule once grant is madePeriodic reviews: add agreements over new issues Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 28
  29. 29. PROPOSAL CHECKLIST1. Justify the existence of the collaborative2. History of collaboration: including this proposal3. List lead administrator/fiscal agent (history here?)4. List partners, background5. How you fit together: what each will contribute6. Ongoing evaluation plan: project and collaboration Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 29
  30. 30. TYPES OF FUNDER SUPPORT• Lead Investor: gets collaborative up and running and intends to attract future funds• Funder of initial exploration: needs, feasibility• Funder of implementation/continuation• Funder through a challenge grant Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 30
  31. 31. PITFALLS TO AVOID• Power imbalances divide you• Irreconcilable org culture clashes• Individual egos/intellectual ownership• Territorialism• Not planning for a supporting infrastructure (staff time for coordination, facilitation)• Unrealistic expectations (deadlines, maxed out staff, don’t know/trust each other well yet)• Partners don’t have long-term vision/commitment• Not enough shared recognition/rewards Copyright 2012 Dalya F. Massachi 31
  32. 32. Find listings for our current season of webinars and register at: NonprofitWebinars.comA Service Of: Sponsored by:
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