So far: screening & eligibility requirements being added and clarified each year.
Committee members represent funders and nonprofit capacity-builders. Steering committee: oversees the Award, sets strategy and long-term goals Screening and Review committees: read and review applications, conduct site visits, select finalists Final Selection Panel: reviews the finalists and selects a single Award winner. Final Selection Panel members are nonprofit, business, government, and community leaders who are identified by the Steering Committee and invited to serve on the Panel. Education committee: works with the other Award committees to identify themes and trends; develops resources
These resources won’t help you win the Collaboration Award this year, but they’re designed to support and strengthen collaborations. Use these all year round and long-term – whether you apply for the Award or not. Let us know what else you’d like to see! (But first, let’s take a look at what we already have.)
Feature: search for collaborations that are currently accepting new partners. If you want to be listed in the database, but you don’t – or can’t – apply in 2013: after the 2013 Award application deadline (March 15), we’ll invite collaborations to submit their information without applying for the 2013 Award.
Here’s what a listing in the Collaboration Database looks like.
The Colorado Collaboration Award was inspired by the Lodestar Foundation’s national Collaboration Prize. A lot of the Colorado Award’s guidelines and details were based on this national award. They seem to have discontinued the Collaboration Prize for 2012, but I don’t know what their long-term plans are.
This is the searchable database of applicants for the national Collaboration Prize.
This is a third-party resource, the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory. You can get to it from the Resources page at ColoradoCollaboration.org. There’s a printable version and an online questionnaire.
During the course of the 2011 and 2012 Collaboration Awards, we found that many collaborations are operating without a written agreement. The Award steering committee agrees that having an MOU is an important best practice for building strong, successful collaborations. Many partnerships may work extremely well without a contract or MOU, but to help ensure that the collaboration can survive major changes – like changes in key people – it’s important to get the agreement in writing. The process of creating and revising the agreement can also play a big role in strategic planning, defining expectations, preventing conflict, and just communicating more as a group. This toolkit is designed to help any collaboration, whether it applies for the Award or not, create or revise their MOU.
Let’s take a quick look at the collaboration that won the award last year, and a couple of others that were finalists in 2012. Again, this section probably won’t help anyone win this year’s award, but it can give you an idea of the type of collaborations the Award is looking for, and it can also give you some ideas for your group to think about. One thing *I* noticed about these finalists is that they APPROACH COLLABORATION differently from a lot of other groups…if you look at things like the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory, which I mentioned a few minutes ago, and then look at these collaborations, you definitely get a more real sense of how some of those factors can be put into action.
These are just a few excerpts from Boulder County IMPACT’s award application. I’m not going to read through all this, but remember that their full application is online, AND this presentation will be online later. Boulder County IMPACT is doing a lot of impressive things. They have plenty of resources dedicated to the collaboration. Here’s one example: the collaboration has a staff person who’s responsible for making sure that staff at the partner agencies all receive training specifically about the collaboration. IMPACT also actively engages the community it serves; they talk a lot about how the kids and their families are involved in the collaboration’s work. And they place a REALLY high priority on evaluation…this is only a small bit of their explanation on how they evaluate. It’s pretty extensive.
Colorado Conservation Partnership has actually been a finalist for BOTH years of the Award. One of the areas where their collaboration really stands out is in the level of commitment the partners have to the project, and the extent to which they work jointly and prioritize the collaborative work. They also have an extremely clear-cut and concrete set of goals, around conserving these priority areas they’ve identified. And it’s pretty impressive that their Priority Areas have been adopted and basically institutionalized by these state agencies. It really speaks to the level of recognition and respect CCP has in the conservation community.
The third finalist in 2012 was the Higher Education Access Alliance. As you read about their work – and remember, you can learn about these collaborations in the Collaboration Database – one thing that really stands out is the level of community engagement. They’re really committed to engaging lots of diverse groups of people, including business groups and conservative politicians…people you wouldn’t always associate with a cause like this one, which is ensuring affordable tuition for undocumented students. They also put a high priority on really meaningful engagement; they empower students to help both lead and implement their work. They shared a couple of great stories about tough choices they’ve been faced with, around how to respond to specific pieces of legislation. They don’t get into any details, but these stories really indicate how committed the partners are to the project, and how openly and respectfully this group is able to communicate and address problems.
Any questions about these resources or about the award in general?
OK…now that we’ve looked at some resources, let’s move on to the nitty-gritty details of the 2013 Collaboration Award itself. First, we’ll go over the eligibility requirements. In the past two years of the Collaboration Award, we’ve found we get more questions about these requirements than anything else. I’ll address a lot of those questions as I go along, and there are a few other FAQs at the end of this section.
This is basically the most frequently asked question about eligibility, which is if you meet all the requirements except one or two, can you still apply. Unfortunately, you can’t...or more accurately, nothing will really stop you from filling out the application, but you can expect it to be screened out before anyone reviews it, which is probably not the result you’re looking for.
Because the $50,000 prize is provided by a group of Colorado funders, the winning collaboration must meet a set of basic funding requirements. It also has to technically be a collaboration, which requirement #2 addresses.
Although factors like formation, purpose, and planning are considered important for a successful collaboration, this award places a strong emphasis on evaluation and results to identify highly successful collaborations. At least 18 months of operational history are required to help ensure that award applicants are able to demonstrate sustained impact and benefits from collaborating.
Are there any questions about the eligibility requirements?
Now we’re going to talk about the application itself.
Here are the steps for applying. If you go to www.ColoradoCollaboration.org, you’ll see it basically walk you through these. If you haven’t yet started your application for the 2013 award, you’ll need to take the online Eligibility Self-Assessment first. If your collaboration meets all the requirements we just covered in the previous section, you’ll just be able to breeze through the Self-Assessment. It’s the exact same requirements, with the same wording, in the same order that we just went through. Once you go through the Self-Assessment, you’ll get a link to start the online application. That’s the part we’ll talk about now.
The first page of the application.
Here’s what this page looks like.
This section just helps the reviewers understand the collaboration they’re reading about in the other sections.
These are the TOPICS for the narrative questions. Under each topic, there are specific questions you’re asked to address. You can see the full list of application questions by going to www.ColoradoCollaboration.org and clicking the menu link that says “2013 Application Questions” or just by starting the online application. One other point (and thank you Jill for reminding me to include this!): the last question, about Budget, asks you to Describe how your collaboration would spend the award if received. The reviewers are interested in your answer here, but it’s not a major part of the scoring, and more importantly, I want to reiterate that this is an Award and not a grant. So you don’t need to provide a lot of detail here like you would in a grant application…it really is more just a point of interest, and something that gives the reviewers an idea about where your collaboration is looking to go in the future.
You’ll see the character count show up once you start filling in your responses to each question. (Yes, the character limit does include spaces.) Also notice that there’s a timer here. Please don’t rely on this, because you really never know what could happen. It keeps track of how long you have before the Award application logs you out, but it doesn’t know if your power might go out, or your computer is going to crash, or anything else that could result in you losing all your work. I strongly recommend you write all your answers in a Word doc and save them separately first. If you do end up doing any work on this page, there’s a Save button at the bottom of the page that you should use often.
These are the attachments you’ll be asked to upload as part of your application. Orange bullet items are the ones I’ll come back to in just a second. For anyone who applied for the 2011 or 2012 Award, you might remember the Participant Endorsement Forms we asked you to have completed by each partner in your collaboration. Those forms are still around! But we won’t request them until after the screening round, and then you’ll have 3 weeks to get them filled out. (For those of you who don’t know what forms I’m talking about, I’ll explain them in the next section, when I talk about what happens after you submit your application.) The attachments section has lots of its own requirements, so first I’ll show you what that page of the application looks like, and then I’ll go through the required attachments one by one.
If you have one single agreement that is BOTH your current agreement AND is dated September 2011 or earlier, then you can just upload that one agreement, if you choose. (Or you could show off and upload an older one, too.) If you have multiple agreements, like separate agreements between different partners, you can upload them separately but it would be really nice if you combined them first into a single PDF and just uploaded that.
*By all partners – means “by all partners at that time.” So if you’re uploading an older MOU from, say, 2010, and new partners have been added since then, we don’t expect you to be able to provide agreements with partners who weren’t involved at that time! The Collaboration Award definitely isn’t looking only for collaborations that never grow or adapt. But your current agreements should include all the partners you currently have.
Basically, the Award is looking for a written agreement that was created among the partners for the sake of the collaboration itself. Check out the MOU Toolkit on the Award website for more information about a really comprehensive MOU.
Any questions about these resources or about the award in general?
First: the information in this webinar is going online. The Participant Endorsement Forms ask for some basic information like each partner’s contact information, annual budget, etc. Each partner must also sign their form. The forms are very quick and easy to fill out. The hard part for most groups is getting the forms completed and returned from each partner, especially if your collaboration has a lot of different partners. So we have 3 weeks set aside for this step. REVIEW ROUND #1: The review committee shoots for about 5 semi-finalists.
Scoring is based on the narrative responses, obviously, with your attachments serving as backup documentation for your narrative answers.
Any questions about these resources or about the award in general?
Applying for the Colorado Collaboration Award
Applying for the2013 ColoradoCollaboration AwardPresented by Sara Raab, Manager of Special Projects,Colorado Nonprofit Association
In this webinar… About the Award Overview, goals, additional resources Can you apply? Eligibility requirements How to apply What you’ll need for the application What happens next? Timeline, selection process
About the AwardGoals: To recognize an outstanding collaboration each1.year To build awareness about successful collaborative2.models To highlight and share proven best practices3.
About the Award History of the Award Initiated in 2009 by a group of Colorado funders Inspired by The Lodestar Foundation’s national Collaboration Prize 2011: First Collaboration Award cycle 176 applications Winner: Northwest Colorado Community Health Partnership 2012: 99 applications Eligibility criteria added and clarified Winner: Boulder County IMPACT
About the Award Structure of the Award Steering committee Screening and Review committees Final Selection Panel Education committeeColorado Nonprofit Association serves as the administrative and fiscal home of the Colorado Collaboration Award
About the AwardCollaboration Resourceswww.ColoradoCollaboration.org
Find a Collaboration ColoradoCollaboration.org• Colorado Collaboration Award’s searchable database• Listings are gathered from Collaboration Award applications (with applicants’ permission)
Find a Colorado Collaboration ColoradoCollaboration.org• Read background information about collaborations, including details on formation, goals, results, planning, and more!• To be included: apply for the Award. When asked in the application, agree to allow us to share your submission with the public, funders, and other nonprofits.
The Collaboration Prize thecollaborationprize.orgA national prize created by The Lodestar Foundation and firstawarded in 2009, The Collaboration Prize inspired a group ofColorado funders to create the Colorado Collaboration Award
The Foundation Center’s Collaboration Databasecollaboration.foundationcenter.orgSearchable database of collaborations nationwide, combined withlots of collaboration-related features & resources
Wilder Collaboration Factors InventoryAccess the Inventory from the Resources page at ColoradoCollaboration.orgAssess your collaboration based on 20 research-tested success factors.The Inventory is a helpful resource, but these factors are not specificallypart of the Colorado Collaboration Award’s requirements or criteria.
MOU Toolkit ColoradoCollaboration.orgToolkit developed by the ColoradoCollaboration Award
About the Award2012 Winner & FinalistsDon’t forget! You can learn more about theseand other collaborations using the databaseat www.ColoradoCollaboration.org
Outstanding Collaborations &Successful Applications2012 winner: Boulder County IMPACTBoulder County IMPACT works to reduce detention, commitment, placementand hospitalization of juveniles ages 10-17.Highlights: The infrastructure team has 1 full time staff person who ensures that all partner agencies are receiving the same information and training. There is a youth advisory board that plays a key role in the development and improvement of all IMPACT programs. The partnership is committed to an ethical communication model where conflict is resolved directly between the involved parties. If conflict cannot be resolved in this way then the next level supervisor can be involved. IMPACT is committed to rigorous evaluation of program effectiveness….All programs submit annual operational plans, complete quarterly reports and enter data into a common database. Results: Boulder IMPACT has maintained the lowest number of committed youth per capita in the state and has saved the State of Colorado an estimated $30 million dollars over the 12 years of the contract. The commitment rate (per 10,000 youth) for Boulder County in 2010-2011 was 6.3, compared to a 19.1 statewide rate.
Outstanding Collaborations &Successful Applications2012 finalist: Colorado Conservation PartnershipCCP envisions a Colorado in which our finest farming and ranching lands, uniquewildlife habitats, world-renown recreational landscapes, scenic vistas and openspaces are permanently protected for current and future generations.Highlights: Each partner financially supports the collaboration equally. To measure results, the collaborative produces an annual report. The five independent nonprofit partners agreed to share resources to create a joint marketing and development plan. In response to the economic decline of 2008, each organization agreed to commit to the CCP work, even if it meant postponing or eliminating another initiative. Through research, CCP established 25 Priority Areas which have the highest conservation values, and are also the most threatened. The creation of the Priority Areas allows the partners to focus their work and help direct donor support....The Priority Areas designations are being used to a great extent by Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, two critical state funding sources. If CCP had not undertaken this work, these agencies would have been compelled to create their own priority areas. In view of the state’s budget challenges, it is unclear if that work would have been authorized.
Outstanding Collaborations &Successful Applications2012 finalist: Higher Education Access AllianceHEAA’s goal is to ensure that all of Colorado’s high school graduates haveaccess to affordable tuition rates, including our undocumented students.Highlights: On its Steering Committee alone, HEAA houses a teachers union, three unified Catholic dioceses, a human rights organization, an immigrant rights group, a foundation that provides scholarships for undocumented students, and a community organizing group. The most important component of HEAAs work is the involvement of the students themselves through the Student Engagement Committee (SEC) - an organized, student-led statewide network - that has become the cornerstone of the HEAA initiative. Conflict Resolution: HEAA has been offered the opportunity to have a bill passed, but in exchange for an agreement not to oppose other legislation that could potentially harm the interests of a Steering Committee member. Steering Committee members have had to come together to clearly define the core principles of each member. Through thoughtful and deliberate efforts by all members, the lines of communication have remained open and the Steering Committee remains strong and intact.
Can you apply?Eligibility FAQ #1:Q. We don’t meet all the requirements. Can we still apply?A. No; it is necessary to meet all the eligibility requirements. Applications are screened for eligibility, and only applications that pass the screening stage are advanced for reading and review.
Can you apply?Basic Requirements Be based in and serving Colorado.1. Involve two or more entities (i.e. nonprofit2.organizations, businesses, and/or governmentagencies). Include a lead organization (for the purposes of this3.application) that is a 501(c)(3).
Can you apply?4. Have begun operations during or before September 2011.Why?The Colorado Collaboration Award places a strong emphasis on evaluation and results. A newer collaboration won’t be able to demonstrate the level of sustained impact the Award looks for.
Can you apply?5. Have a collaborative structure, including: • Shared leadership and decision-making among partners (i.e., not a contractor/contractee, fiscal agent, or parent/chapter relationship). • Shared goals and planning among partners. • Shared contribution of resources from partners.Why?These guidelines, new in 2013, clarify characteristics of a competitiveapplication.
Can you apply?6. Have a structure that is evidenced by a formal written agreement (i.e., memorandum of understanding (MOU), contract, or merger agreement). • Have a written agreement (MOU, contract, or merger agreement) dated September 2011 or earlier. Why? The award steering committee agrees that having a written agreement is an important best practice; it helps ensure that a collaboration can survive changes in its environment or key people, and is an important tool for building long-term stability and success. An MOU dated September 2011 or earlier is required as documentation that the collaboration began operations at least 18 months prior to the Award deadline.
Can you apply?7. Submit the lead organization’s nondiscrimination policy; this policy must expressly include “sexual orientation” and “gender expression.” Why? This requirement was proposed and adopted by the award’s steering committee, a diverse group of Colorado funders and capacity-builders, who agreed that this requirement is in keeping with the spirit of the Award itself. Visit www.ColoradoNonprofits.org/gender-expression-policy/ to learn more about this requirement. What if you don’t have the required policy in place right now? The lead organization must adopt this wording as part of its nondiscrimination policy – and submit the new policy as part of the application – by the application deadline.
Can you apply? Q. Our collaboration includes partners that are government agencies, businesses, etc. Are we eligible to apply?More A. Yes, as long as at least one partner is a Colorado-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and that partner serves as the lead organization for the application.FAQs Q. Our collaboration serves areas outside Colorado. Are we eligible? A. Yes, as long as the collaboration’s service area includes Colorado, and the collaboration itself is based in Colorado.
How to apply1. Go to ColoradoCollaboration.org and click Apply for the Award.2. Take the Eligibility Self-Assessment. At the end, it will direct you to the application.3. Start the online application. (More details on this in a moment.)4. Finish the online application by March 15.
How to applyThe Application Contact InformationSection #1 We’lluse this information to communicate with you about your application (request additional information, send status updates, etc.) Your application username & password will go to the email address you provide here.
How to applyAt any point, click Save and Quit to save your work and get anemail with your username and login.
How to applyThe Application Overview QuestionsSection #2 Basic information about the collaboration (lead organization, mission, list of partners, budgeted revenue & expense, etc.) None of your responses will be directly considered during evaluation Large-budget collaborations, larger geographic efforts, or bigger lists of partners don’t make one collaboration “better” than another.See the full list of applicationSee the full list of applicationquestions atquestions atColoradoCollaboration.org.ColoradoCollaboration.org. Be accurate! (While this section isn’t specifically scored, the reviewers don’t like discrepancies between your responses here and in other sections.)
How to applyThe Application Narrative QuestionsSection #3 Formation (5 points) Structure (15 points) Purpose and Goals (25 points) Results to date (40 points) Planning (5 points) Anticipated Challenges and Opportunities (5See the full list of applicationSee the full list of application points)questions atquestions atColoradoCollaboration.org. BudgetColoradoCollaboration.org. (5 points)
How to applyThe Application Narrative QuestionsSection #3 Reviewers use your responses in this section to evaluate the application! Each question shows the number of points used to score this question and the character limit for your response. Tip: To avoid losing your work, write yourSee the full list of applicationSee the full list of application answers separately and then copy and pastequestions atquestions atColoradoCollaboration.org.ColoradoCollaboration.org. them into the online application.
How to applyThe Application AttachmentsSection #4 501(c)(3) letter, dated 2007 or later, for the lead organization Written agreement (e.g., MOU or contract) dated September 2011 or earlier Current written agreement (e.g., MOU or contract) Nondiscrimination policy from the lead organization (including “sexual orientation” and “gender expression”) Collaboration’s 2013 budget (if applicable) Executive summarySee the full list of applicationSee the full list of application Additionalattachments (if needed; please don’t uploadquestions atquestions atColoradoCollaboration.org.ColoradoCollaboration.org. any materials not requested above)
How to applyApplication AttachmentsOriginal documentation of the collaboration structure (memorandumof understanding/MOU, contract, or merger agreement), datedSeptember 2011 or earlier. This documentation demonstrates that the collaboration began formal operations at least 18 months before the 2013 Award deadline.Current documentation of the collaboration structure (memorandumof understanding (MOU), contract, or merger agreement). This documentation shows the current structure of the collaboration, as well as the roles and responsibilities of each partner.
How to applyApplication Attachments: What Is an MOU?To qualify, all documentation/agreements submitted must: Be signed and dated by all partners. Reference all partners. Outline the collaboration’s structure. Describe the partners’ roles and responsibilities.
How to applyApplication Attachments: What Is an MOU?Documentation that will not be accepted: Grant applications or reports Lease agreements Contracts or agreements with third parties (organizations/entities which are not partners in the collaboration) Samples, templates, or blank forms of agreements
How to applyApplication AttachmentsExecutive Summary of the collaboration (ONE page only): Highlight what makes your collaboration unique, innovative, and a model for other collaborations to follow. You can be more creative and focus on things the narrative questions might not have asked about. Don’t repeat a significant amount of information covered elsewhere in the application.The information above has been quoted and/or adapted from the Colorado CommonGrant Application User’s Guide.
What happens next?March 15: Application DeadlineMarch 28: Screening complete Eligible applications advanced to next round Collaborations asked to provide Participant Endorsement Forms (1 per partner)April 18: Deadline for Participant Endorsement FormsJune 28: Review round #1 complete Review committee finishes reading and scoring applications Semi-finalists selected Review committee schedules site visits with semi-finalists
Application ReviewCollaborations are evaluated and scoredbased on:•Depth of collaboration•Demonstration of significant impact•Innovation in addressing a specific challenge or opportunity•Relevance as a model other nonprofit collaborations canreplicate•Effectiveness of community engagement•Operation in accordance with nonprofit and collaborative bestpractices
What happens next?July 26: Review round #2 complete Site visits complete Finalists selectedAugust 23: Winner selected Final Selection Panel meets in August to choose the winnerOctober: Award presented 2013 Colorado Collaboration Award presented at Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Fall Conference & Exhibition Winner invited to present a session at the Fall Conference