Executive Summary: High Stakes Donor Collaborations

donor collaboration
(Illustration by Yarek Wazul)

An executive summary of an article that appears in the Spring 2013 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. You can view the full article or download a PDF version from the SSIR web site.
This piece starts by talking about how nonprofits are working in increasingly collaborative ways, “Yet, when it comes to donors—whether foundations or philanthropists—collaborating with other donors, few have advanced beyond information sharing and grant coordination.”

Advice from the Front Lines

Here’s what it takes to make a high stakes donor collaboration work:
• Productive personal relationships are critical. More often than not, members join based on preexisting relationships.
• Principals need to be at the table. Typically, foundation CEOs with previous working relationships set collaboratives in motion.
• Have clear structure and process. Specify how decisions are made and create break points for program evaluation.
• Everyone needs to be flexible. Be prepared to adapt to lessons learned and changing circumstances and expectations.
• Be wary of playing it too safe. Assembling a high-powered group around a table can put a damper on risk taking and innovation.
• Plan an exit strategy. Clarify upfront what time frames funders are committing to and how they can exit with minimal friction.
Read this article here
For the full article, that this executive summary is based on, click here

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