How to Work with Other Organizations
Working with other organizations that have similar goals can increase the quality and strength of your programming. Together, you can accomplish bigger goals, build broader support and reach a wider audience.
When brainstorming, think about how another group would benefit from working with you, what type of power the organization can bring, and what potential problems might result. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with this particular group? Do your research, and take the time to find out more about their group and what they are trying to accomplish.
Connecting With Allies
- Develop a strategy for inviting others to join you in the very beginning stages of your planning. Include them early enough so they can be an active and real part of developing ideas and plans.
- Make contact! Assign a member of your group to meet with a representative of the other group. Be clear and upfront about your interests and expectations, and remember to listen equally to their interests and expectations.
- Build a relationship! Groups are often contacted to cosponsor events with no real way to engage or support. By building a relationship with other groups, you’ll get more than just their logo as a cosponsor – you can plan future join events, organize members to attend both group events, and pull together your funding sources.
Developing an Action Plan
When carrying out your plan, keep in mind these important tips:
- Be specific. When defining your goal and planning your strategy or event, be as specific as possible. Concrete expectations are easier to fulfill than abstract or vague plans.
- Assign responsibilities. Help all participants fulfill their potential by making sure everyone is assigned a specific task. After each meeting, make sure that tasks are pided according to each person's abilities and interest.
- Establish a budget and deadlines. This will give concrete dimensions to your project. Decide the budget as soon as possible, and determine which group is responsible for which portion. Then, set a timeline and refer to it regularly throughout your work.
- Maintain communication. Keeping all participating groups updated and involved in the decision making process is key to collaboration. Remember that one of the advantages to working with other groups is that this can multiply resources, and thus you should consult this abundant resource whenever necessary.
Celebrate/evaluate together after the project
Congratulate each other for having accomplished your project! In evaluating your work, here are a few questions to think about: were your expectations met? What lessons might you take away from this experience? Would you collaborate with the group on another project? If yes, remember to keep in touch for future collaborations.
Things to keep in mind when you work with other groups
- Too many voices. Working with other groups increases the number of inputs. This may be helpful in multiplying resources, but it might also complicate the decision-making process. One way of managing this situation is to remind everyone of the common goal, and to keep on track to work specifically toward it.
- Sacrifices and compromises. Be sensitive and aware of the way other organizations do things - it will probably be different from your own. You can learn from other groups, and they can learn from you - it's a two way street. Make compromises, but also keep in mind your group's goals and vision.
- Conflict management. Related to the problem of too many decisions/voices, conflict cannot be avoided and should be expected. But more importantly, conflicts are not to be feared! Resolve the conflict by explicitly confronting the problem, assigning a third party to mediate between those involved in the conflict, and letting everyone be heard. Just remember that accomplishing the goal requires everyone's cooperation.