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Posted by Sarah Brown on 16 May '19

5 reasons any charity should develop partnerships

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There has always been a tension for charities when they think about collaborating with others, because often they have been competing for the same funding and this does not encourage people to want to share, which is the foundation of a good partnership.

However, there are five strong reasons to collaborate:

1 Improve how you achieve your mission

I am currently working with a charity that wants to address knife crime in the communities it serves. It sees sport as part of the mix in what it should offer but has no existing skills or resources in this area. If it doesn’t partner with another organisation such as a sports centre or sports club how does it offer this? Setting up from scratch would be expensive and time consuming while a partnership can be a win-win where both sides gain, one helping its community, the other getting more people through the doors.

2 Reduce running costs

I was working across a set of organisations that had come together in a partnership to address the strategic needs of the advice sector in their city but a side product was the opportunity to use one of the larger organisations bulk buying discounts to reduce costs of stationery and postage.

3 Raise your profile

Particularly as a local charity or social enterprise it can seem hard to get heard but if you can join with others to promote a common issue then you have a louder voice and more authority. A local animal rescue that shares data with others so it can say the total number of abandoned dogs in an area is going to have a lot more impact than just giving numbers for itself.

4 Benefit from business

When we work with businesses, we only work with those that are ethical and responsible, we never work with those that are only chasing money. There are lots of ways that charities can prospect from a collaboration with a commercial business. One area is in marketing which most charities cannot afford and rarely do they have marketing departments. Find a business that works with the same sort of people that you support and potentially you can piggyback on their marketing skills. Or find a marketing agency with millennials that want to do worthwhile work and give them the opportunity to be fulfilled helping your charity.

5 Get bigger contracts

Unfortunately, procurement professionals are very risk averse and whatever they say about wanting to give contracts to the third sector if your turnover is too small you will be seen as too high risk. For example, for a £50,000 contract most buyers would want to see a turnover of over £100,000 to feel happy in offering the contract. This can mean that only large charities get the contracts but if you can collaborate you can potentially aggregate your incomes together to be able to bid for bigger contracts

How to get started

The National Lottery Community Fund can fund collaboration development with grants over £10,000. Search community fund partnerships

If you have an idea or a need just ring us to chat about collaboration we love it. We can help you develop the idea and our Collaboration Optimiser can speed the process of developing a partnership.

Partnerships are one of the best ways to grow – go on have a think.

Found this interesting you should read

The three ways to grow your organisation

Creating successful charity partnerships for new funding

Working together to change the world