The Collaboration Hub
Collaboration - the What? the Why? the How?
At it's core, collaboration is about partnership. Working in tandem with like-minded partners in any walk of life can a number of potential benefits. This is especially true for Irish community and voluntary organisations, who are tasked with delivering much-needed services throughout the community, but who must also work to tight budgets and requirements. Collaboration can help these organisation to achieve by their shared goals and missions by:
- Reducing the costs for each organisation as they pool resources and eliminate potential duplication of services;
- Sharing expert knowledge and skills between partner organisations, thereby allowing each organisation to strengthen its own capacity to deliver;
- Strenghtening the credibility of all collaborating partners, as they publicly demonstrate unity and efficiency in the delivery of joint ventures.
There are many types of collaboration. Organisations already regularly engage in everything from once-off collaborative projects to more sustained and long-term partnerships, and right up to actual mergers between two organisations.
The purpose of the Collaborative Hub is to put collaboration into context for you. You can use the sections below to learn more about the different types of collaboration that your organisation could conceivably engage in, as well as to access additional resources and tools that will help you on your collaborative journey.
The Wheel's Collaborations
Click here to download an up-to-date list of The Wheel's own collaborative partnerships.
Please click on any of the headings below to learn more.
The Wheel's latest Good Practice Guide - Collaborate to Innovate - has been created to provide Irish community and voluntary organisations with the practical tools and clear guidance they need to make collaboration work for them.
Produced in partnership with Prospectus Strategy Consultants, this 52-pg colour guide will walk you through the entire collaboration process, from the basics to the diagnosis phase, the planning phase and the actual implementation phase. The guide also includes a number of key templates and tools to keep your collaboration on the right track and moving forward.
- An initial half-day session at which 2-3 board members, the CEO and senior management teams explored their joint venture/merger proposition and developed a joint work-plan with their partner. For organisations without a partner, the team developed a realistic sense of what was achievable and of what they needed to do to make a successful joint venture a reality.
- A second half-day session in which the group looked at a draft joint work-plan and critically analysed it to ensure it was feasible and that it would deliver on the working together objectives.
- Each organisation also received five hours of ongoing one-to-one coaching through the implementation of the agreed joint work-plan.
- A final half-day review meeting was then held at the end of the project to examine the progress that had been made and the challenges that remained.
Collaborate to Innovate Programme Participants
As Stand-Alone Organisations:
As part of a pair / cluster of Organisations:
A Selection of Nonprofit Collaboration Resources from Ireland and Abroad:
- Collaboration for Greater Impact - a paper by the Ireland Funds and 2into3
- Grants Fund for Mergers and Collaboration - the Community Foundation for Ireland has a small fund which might allow such organisations or consortiums to explore this. It is for the facilitation of early stage discussions and negotiations, and not the process of merging or collaboration in action. Grants of a maximum of €8,000 will pay for associated costs such as hiring in external facilitator, room hire, travel costs etc.
- CollaborationNI - information and advice on collaborating for the Norther Irish communiuty and voluntary sector.
- Choosing to Collaborate: How to Succeed (a guide from the UK Charity Commission)
- Collaborative Working section from the NCVO website
- Nonprofit Collaboration Resources (US), including hundreds of examples of collaboration along with knowledge base articles and advice.
- Why Collaboration is Important for Charities (newspaper article).