Strategic Alliances for Nonprofits
In today’s pop culture, the term strategic alliances often refers to players working together in a calculated manner to pick-off their opponents and remain the last survivor on the island. In this case, forging a strategic alliance is an effective survival strategy – and this strategy may be just as effective for nonprofit survival as well.
To explore the strengths of strategic alliances/collaborations for the nonprofit sector, Applied Materials brought together 48 nonprofit grantees in Austin, Texas for the Advancement Academy. The Academy is an annual training organized to increase efficiencies and community impact of the Applied Materials Foundation’s grants recipients.
This year’s one-day workshop led by, Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, challenged the nonprofits to analyze their current operation models and identify ripe opportunities for collaborations that would deepen their community impact. The nonprofit participants represented four sectors including, education, basic needs, arts, and the environment, providing an opportunity for diverse nonprofits to socialize ideas.
Largely due to the entrepreneurial character of its citizens, Austin, Texas, has more nonprofits per capita than any other Texas city and any other city in the Southwestern U.S. By sheer numbers alone, an under-resourced environment is created that forces nonprofits to consider collaborations as a critical business success factor. I would argue that all nonprofits, should consider it as critical to their success, since by the very nature of a nonprofit they are forced to develop resources and survive.
Collaborations in a nonprofit environment often come with natural tensions as groups compete for resources like dollars and volunteers. But, when collaborations work, they can truly make seismic change for a community. In Austin, we have supported several successful collaborations like MindPop, Best Single Source and the Austin Creative Alliance. The needle gets moved a bit further when we work together and focus on the end result rather than competing issues.
For Applied, investing in these discussions is smart business. When tackling community issues, our goal is for no one to get voted off and the community to be crowned the victor.
To read more about the session and the collaboration continuum, check out the Greenlights blog.
To learn more about Applied’s investments in the community visit our web site.