by Kelly Lee
If you have been to any nonprofit training seminar recently, or read any articles, you know that collaboration is one of the BUZZ words floating around in the sector. This either invokes excitement or tremendous fear! The thought of partnering with other people or organizations can sometimes push us beyond our comfort zone, leading to that inner dialogue that we all know: “What if they don’t pull their weight? What if our styles and methods don’t mesh? Who is in charge?” All very valid questions, as a huge part of a successful partnership is trust -- and that isn’t always easy, especially if you have been burned before!
Here is the exciting part -- working with people and organizations that you don’t normally partner with can open your eyes to a whole new way of seeing your community. We all get hunkered down in our own little silos, making it difficult to see any way but OUR way. Opening yourself (or your organization) up to new partnerships is a great way to add new energy and insight into your work.
We recently partnered with the United Way Tar River Region to present the 3rd Annual Leading for Tomorrow Nonprofit Capacity Building Summit in Rocky Mount. This was collaboration on many levels. Our two organizations partnered to plan the event, two of our local affiliates, the Futrell-Mauldin Community Foundation and Edgecombe Charitable Foundation boards, partnered to financially support the event and many of our NCCF staff and community and statewide partners came together to present!
Grant season is upon us in the Coastal Plain North region. Our boards (and other funders) are always excited to see applications that show some form of collaboration with other nonprofits. The more we work together, the greater impact we can have in our communities -- and isn’t that what it’s all about?