We’re seeing a lot of amazing collaborations popping up around the county. Established networks such as the Community Foundation-supported Boulder County Health Improvement Collaborative have been proving effectiveness for almost ten years. With examples like this, funders are now more than ever seeking out new partnerships and networks as places to locate projects. A key starting point for building out collaboratives is agreeing to, and following through on collective impacts.
Pros and Cons of Collective Action
The benefits to emphasizing collective and collaborative approaches are clear. Collaboration allows organizations to share resources and maximize individual strengths. Collaborators can also draw on a larger audience for outreach, engagement, and interest. On the flip side, however, collective action requires extra management. Collaborators will need staff dedicated to maintaining connections, and a strong commitment to communication and shared outcomes.
Impact for Resilience
As advocates for resilience, it’s imperative that we also be advocates for collaboration. We are very conscious of the fact that sharing with others is crucial to our own survival. But even beyond the days when we are facing down natural disasters or other major crises, collaboration allows us to expand our abilities in an on-demand way. By connecting with people who have the knowledge, skills, or resources that we need, we can be more flexible and adapt more easily to changing conditions. This works all the way from asking for a plant trade with a neighbor’s garden to sharing best practices with colleagues.
These exchanges are small collaborations, but create ripple effects that strengthen community, introduce us to new people, and allow us to gain new information as well as new opportunities. So in honor of joint ventures, here’s some tools for starting with collective impact and building it out, up, and all around for better collaboration: