Nonprofits benefit from collaborative efforts that reduce costs and share resources

October 3, 2013

Nonprofits benefit from collaborative efforts that reduce costs and share resources

There are many benefits for nonprofits that participate in collaborative efforts to achieve their mission. When multiple nonprofits come together – for a single event or continuous program –  they can extend their reach, share financial resources and learn from each other.  This concept is certainly not a new one, but may be more tempting as nonprofits face funding shortfalls.

The extent to which two or more nonprofits collaborate will vary greatly depending each organization's goals and resources. In some cases, it could be as permanent as a merger or as simple as splitting the rent on a shared space for a fundraiser. The decision to fully merge with another NPO and share a corporate structure should not be taken lightly and may even require an outside consultant, according to Forbes. A merger is more likely when two nonprofits with similar missions are both in dire financial straights or struggling for resources. While mergers provide many benefits beyond budget relief, financial strain is usually the driving force.

Small-scale collaboration
The decision to collaborate and remain separate organizations requires less consideration, as the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks. Two organizations serving the same area may have different missions, but share some intersections of programs and services. A nonprofit committed to fighting diabetes and another committed to helping the elderly may both offer free blood glucose tests. Instead of finding different locations and hiring different diagnostic services, the two could easily share costs and resources for a more efficient program. If both organizations have offered free screenings before, they will bring unique experiences to the collaborative effort. 

An example of a large collaborative effort with a common goal is the First Nonprofit Unemployment Savings Program.  A partnership among over 1,000 nonprofits utilizing an alternative funding option not available to the private, for-profit sector to reduce their unemployment insurance costs.  The program allows numerous nonprofits to opt out of the state unemployment tax system without being exposed to the risk and uncertainty of self-insuring and at the same time achieve savings that may be redirected to support their mission and community.

A large number of organizations working together on a single initiative creates a great forum for an exchange of ideas. Nonprofits can evaluate how each achieves its goals when given similar funding and programs in a group initiative. Even in a broader effort, which does not require nonprofits to work directly with one another, organizations should make the effort to communicate. 

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Testimonials

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

We were introduced to First Nonprofit through another housing authority. In our analysis and comparison to what we were paying the State, our first year savings was $5,800 plus. We have been with them since the end of 2008 and I am glad we have been. I consider them an arm of our HR department.

Kankakee County Housing Authority, Kankakee, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools

Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Hugh Parry, Retired President of Prevent Blindness America