Collaborating with other charities can be a fantastic way to boost your services and ultimately make an even greater difference to the lives of your beneficaries. 

However, you shouldn't rush into partnering and working with other charities and non-profits – especially at such a challenging time for the sector. You'll need some specific elements in place before you start looking for a collaboration partner.

To discuss collaboration in the charity sector, we're joined by Michael Mapstone, Director of International at CAF. Watch the videos below to hear Michael's invaluable opinion as he answers:

Each video is supported by a transcript. Watch the videos below and discover how charities can collaborate now.

What does collaboration in the charity sector mean for you?

  • Video transcript

    What does collaboration in the charity sector mean for you?

    It’s a collaboration amongst charities but for me it means lots and lots of different things. First of all, I think there’s one aspect which is purely around the audience: the beneficiary groups. Quite often this is at community level, local level and lots of different types of organisations coalescing around those audiences and those beneficiaries and those community groups.

    And there’s informal and formal - lots of different ways of making that work. There’s formal types of arrangements and partnerships where it's about funding, about specific programme impacts - incredibly exciting and again that can be at a local level or national level.

    And lastly - and more often - there’s lots of informal collaboration where it’s about just signposting, sharing information, sharing skills, sharing knowledge. And that can be at a local level, a national level, or an international level.


What are some of the ways charities are collaborating?

  • Video transcript
    What are some of the ways charities are collaborating?

    So how are we seeing charities collaborating and what can we learn from their success? I think the learning bit is going to have to come, we aren’t seeing lots of case studies and evidence of real collaboration with charities in terms of their work and their programming aspects. 

    What we are certainly seeing is a huge amount of collaboration and outreach, information sharing, knowledge, best practice, learning around how to run your organisation in a lockdown scenario. 

    Whether that’s employees working from home, what technology is free and available to use, how to adapt your outreach to communities. So that learning is coming out hugely - and it’s global which is fascinating. 

    We’re certainly seeing funders wanting more collaboration. I think the big thing there that we’re going to have to take onboard is to constantly remind ourselves not to only concentrate on the potential of funding at a very difficult time, but really think about our beneficiaries and our mission and how those two things match up. So difficult choices and possibly the idea of saying no to money at the moment.

    And lastly, I think what we are seeing is a huge amount of collaboration on the fundraising side, so the 2.6 challenge (which replaced the London Marathon), Giving Tuesday Now - lots of different initiatives where fundraisers of different organisations up and down the country are coming together to collaborate to boost unrestricted funding, which is fantastic and greatly needed.

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What should be in place before finding a collaboration partner?

  • Video transcript
    What should charities put in place before finding a collaboration partner?

    I think the really important thing actually is to take a step back and look internally first of all and make sure you have a really good grip and understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, your resources, what you have in place to make you a partner fit to be partnering with.

    And then you need to have a really good understanding of what your values and objectives are when you go out and seek partners or respond to potential partners.

    Don't be distracted by the money, though it’s very important of course, but I think keep your mission, your values, and your beneficiaries front of mind and use that to anchor all partnerships and collaborations in the future.

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