• Caterina Sullivan

How Collective Collaborations Can Help NGOs Gain More Stride

Updated: Nov 4, 2018



We’ve seen how profit making companies have collaborated to gain more impact and maximize profits. For example, in 2009, Coca-Cola collaborated with Heinz to develop more sustainable containers. Microsoft and Toyota collaborated to create intelligent energy consumption in 2011. NASA and LEGO collaborated to create educational tools for children. The British folding bike company, Brompton Dock, in 2010 collaborated with railways and universities in its district to create more sustainable mobility by combining public transport and cycling.

Collaboration is essential for businesses, and it is even more important for NGOs in order to achieve a larger impact in the world today. We all think and say that it is very natural for organizations to work together to fill in the gaps in their causes and specializations in order to achieve better social outcomes… So why doesn’t it happen more?

As it is, aid funding in many countries, even developed countries is diminishing.

NGOs with shared or complementary missions should put their heads together to apply for funding jointly and to create programs together.

Collaboration with NGOs, organisations, communities and groups not only creates a longer lasting impact, it also creates a systematic impact which will lead to more founding from corporations in the long run.

NGO staff and management need to step outside the box to look at innovative ways to work with other organisations to achieve common goals and mutually beneficial outcomes as well as funding methods.


Here are some successful tips for NGOs looking to be inspired by collective collaboration:

Look for a Common Objective

NGOs looking to collaborate with partners must, above all, have a deep and shared commitment towards their specific objectives or goals, whether it is lifting people out of poverty, bringing clean water to rural areas or helping people in domestic abuse situations.

Finding organisations with the same point of view is also essential. Not only should NGOs look at common goals, they should also look at how to create partnerships on activities to mobilize the targeted audiences and also how to include the nearby communities to achieve these objectives.

Respect Different Skills Sets and Expertise

NGOS need to remove themselves from the NGO mindset and think outside the box when it comes to collaborating and being inclusive. Understanding that everyone has different expertise and different skills sets will help NGOS be more open to accepting and including the general community in the process of achieving their organisational goals. NGOs can also create community-led programs where people in these communities can take on a leadership role in identifying problems and coming up with solutions, so they can sustain themselves.

Creating Measurable Benefits

By tapping into the expertise in and around the organisation, NGOs can create measurable business benefits such as reduced operation costs, new market development and an enhanced brand value. Not only that, collaborations also raise the bar in NGO performance. Innovations stemming out from corporate or community partnerships create competitive advantage for the business while establishing a new outlook and wider audience for the NGO and a new level of standard for excellence for other NGOs to build on.


Image credit: Creative Sustainability

Leveraging Skills and Perspectives

Most NGOs’ main challenges include not having enough skills or different perspectives to move their causes forward. Partnering with the community and other organisations can help NGOs pool the right expertise, skills and resources to manage various aspects of their organisational management. Not only can leveraging from outside skills produce different perspectives, it can also be a testing ground for each NGO to see the effectiveness of their approaches and campaigns for their causes and issues.

Credibility and Validation

Collaboration also increases NGOs credibility. At a time when there are plenty of scams, partnership with groups and organisations will enable a two-way trust system. The community can see that their funds and money are going in the right direction, and each NGO can gain the community’s trust to continue doing the work they do. NGOs can also provide independent validation when it comes to any crises which happens within the community.

Points to Ponder

With so many NGOs all aiming for a variety of causes and issues, there needs to be a serious need to restructure funding so that it recognizes and rewards not one NGO but geared towards rewarding effective NGO collaborations.

Collaborations are the key towards proper management, useful use of resources and funding and not to mention the aim of bringing about change.

If you’re an NGO interested in developing your collective collaboration networks, contact us today to chat about how we can work with you to further your cause!

This article was originally published on the Global Goals Australia Campaign website.

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