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Collaboration options

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Co-operation, collaboration and mergers - the options for non profit organisations wanting to work together.

Structuring your thinking on other player options

Once you’ve worked out who else is in your market and found out some information about them, you then need to consider the kind of relationship to develop[1]

Think through the other players in your market and consider the different kinds of relationship you could have with them; use this matrix of options (Word) as a prompt. If you have a number of different projects or services, you can pursue more than one option at the same time with the same other player.

Some pointers about co-operation and collaboration

  1. Be clear about your position, what you want and what’s in it for you, them and your beneficiaries: think about how the other player strategy will deliver your mission, play to your strengths and help overcome your weaknesses.
  2. Open up a dialogue and find out what kind of relationship they want (and they may want to do nothing for now).
  3. Determine how well you could work together: chemistry and instinct play an important part. You don’t have to be the same but you need to be compatible (in approach, culture/values, agenda/priorities, between leaders and opinion formers).
  4. Carry out a feasibility study, cost benefit analysis and risk assessment if resources need to be invested.
  5. Constantly reasses and have an exit strategy.

Further resources

  • Have a look at the Collaborative working section to find out more about working with other organisations.
  • What place for mergers between charities?  looks at whether mergers can contribute to a more effective charity sector in the UK. It argues that by bringing together organisations with similar missions, mergers can improve existing services, create new benefits and save money. But they are also risky - if not done well they can destroy value.

Source: [1] Copeman, C, Bruce, I, Forrest, A, Lesirge, R, Palmer, P and Patel, A (2004) Tools for Tomorrow - A Guide to Strategic Planning NCVO: London

Page last edited Jun 23, 2017

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