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Collaborative relationships key for the not for profit sectorSarah Carter

by Sarah Carter, Head of Leadership at HOME Fundraising Ltd


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Collaborative relationships key for the not for profit sectorIn the IFC 2016 opening plenary Amanda Palmer recognised that “Asking must be, at its core, a collaboration.” 

Well said! Collaboration has to be at the heart of every fundraising conversation.

But collaboration is also central to the future success of the not for profit sector as a whole. Certainly, there are pressures within every sector for organisations to collaborate and team up with others to achieve common goals. Any collaboration – even if it’s Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga - should enable the collaborators to make a bigger impact, broaden their ‘fan’ base, get their message out to and benefit a wider group of people. 

Nowhere is the power and importance of collaboration more evident than in the not for profit sector. Because if we’re genuinely about making the world a better place – and not focused on being the largest or the best - those bigger goals will always be more important than one individual cause. 

We just have to look at initiatives like the Disaster’s Emergency Committee which generate urgently needed funding for international disasters fast or consortia like Remember A Charity to see how these individual organisations can achieve so much more when working together than they ever could alone.

Collaboration and partnerships with real social impact were at the heart of this year’s IFC, as Laura Croudace, Partnerships and Engagement Manager at the Resource Alliance, explains: “’Taking collaboration to new heights’ is an important part of the Resource Alliance’s manifesto. We want to encourage people to work together in our sector, and prototype things faster through collaboration. As an organisation we also want to partner with organisations who are cutting edge thinkers, organisations who can make a real difference to NGOs striving to create change. At this year’s IFC we wanted collaboration to thrive. We know that is where the magic really happens.” 

And for us at Wisdom Fish, a transformative partner of the Resource Alliance, that collaboration is about values and priorities; a shared mind-set. The Resource Alliance exists to serve change makers across the world, by sharing resources, tools and knowledge. Their aim is to help organisations reach their objectives faster by having access to the resources they harness. Laura admits: “We know that we can’t do this alone, and that we are better together which is why we invest lots of energy looking for companies who are different, those that can really make a big difference to organisations – we actively search for these organisations in which to partner with. 

Enter Wisdom Fish. 

“This year we knew that burn out and wellness in the workplace were topics being discussed a lot among NGO’s and we wanted to help individuals and organisations access knowledge and tools, which is how the partnership with Wisdom Fish developed. We knew that they held knowledge and tools which could help so many organisations across the world develop leadership, mindfulness and self awareness, which is key when trying to tackle vast challenges and create change,” continues Laura.

The theme of this year’s IFC encouraged us all to ask the right questions. Wisdom Fish is all about this – mindfulness and self-awareness, helping people ask questions about themselves, supporting them to listen to and respond to their own needs, identify the behaviours, habits and attitudes that affect their relationships, productivity, health and happiness within the workplace and beyond. At IFC Wisdom Fish offered meditation and workshops to delegates to help them increase their own awareness and recognise what they need to develop and change  to reach their potential as leaders, teams and organisations – and more fundamentally as human beings. 

Successful collaborative partnerships come in all shapes and guises, but they all have something in common; a focus and commitment to a shared set of values and objectives. And for sector suppliers partnering with not for profit organisations, it must mean a genuine commitment to invest in and support the sector itself.

Wisdom Fish was introduced at IFC 2016 and will be formally launched in 2017.

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