Friday, May 16, 2008

The Collaboration Prize: $250,000 for Nonprofits That Collaborate, Not Compete

According to Nonprofitist.org's post, How Many International Nonprofits Can You Count? there are 1.4 million nonprofits in the United States. Charity Governance reports that, "For the period from October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007 (fiscal year 2007), the IRS received 85,771 applications for recognition of Section 501(c)(3) status."

That's a lot of nonprofits, many that are doing similar work and competing for funding from foundations and individual donors.

To celebrate, and learn about best practices in nonprofit collaborations, the Lodestar Foundation has launched a $250,000 Collaboration Prize:
"The Collaboration Prize recognizes collaborations among two or more nonprofit organizations that each would otherwise provide the same or similar programs or services and compete for clients, financial resources and staff. The Prize also seeks to build an information base of effective practice models that can be studied and used by academics, nonprofit leaders and grantmakers to inspire and advance their work."
To be eligible to apply, the collaboration must:
  • "Involve two or more nonprofit organizations that each would otherwise provide the same or similar programs or services and compete for clients, financial resources and staff.
  • Have a structure that is evidenced by a formal agreement that uses the resources of each party in a more effective way; this agreement could be a memorandum of understanding (MOU), a letter of agreement, a contract, or a merger agreement.
  • Have begun operation at least 18 months prior to nomination and must have been in existence no longer than eight years prior to the date of nomination."
The nomination process begins June 1, 2008 and closes July 21, 2008.

I hope that one of the results of this award will be a guide and training to help other nonprofits to pool their collective knowledge, skills and resources in successful collaborations.

As the Everyday Giving Blog points out, the authors of Forces for Good, Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, found that "One of the six practices of high-impact nonprofit organizations is collaboration with other nonprofits."

Why don't more nonprofits collaborate?

Logo from The Collaboration Prize web site.




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