Collaboration: The Key to Advancing the Mission of Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit organizations are pioneering the way business is done.
Existing to further a social cause, rather than generate profit for shareholders, nonprofits use their surplus revenues to further their mission.
Requiring forethought, good planning, and a healthy dose of creativity, nonprofits are only as successful as ingenuity allows.
At Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha (RMHC) it is believed that collaboration is key to successfully running a nonprofit.
But what does collaboration mean for nonprofit organizations?
How do nonprofits ensure they’re finding the right partners?
Traditionally, nonprofit organizations operate based on donations and grants from individuals, businesses, and foundations. Guided by a Board of Directors, lean staff and ample volunteers are relied upon to provide programming that aligns with a specific mission.
However, as the needs of society have changed, the way that people want to give has changed with it. This has opened the door to a more modern—and sustainable—way of running nonprofit organizations.
Dissolving the competitive mindset
Rather than content for resources, today’s nonprofits whose missions compete or even complement one another can choose a new road: Collaboration.
Through collaborative relationships with other organizations, a nonprofit can offer its recipients stronger programming while continuing to focus on its mission. For example, RMHC’s mission is to create and operate programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. This includes providing home-like accommodations to families 35 or more miles from home whose children are battling illness and being treated at an Omaha-area medical institution.
But, while imperative to address basic needs, there is so much more associated with battling childhood illness than a warm bed, a hot shower, and access to meals.
From conflicting emotions, to changes in family dynamics, to choosing between being at work versus being with their sick child, parents, guardians, and siblings are all experiencing some form of trauma.
How do you support these individuals as people without going outside the structure of the mission?
Why nonprofits should choose collaboration
Collaboration benefits not only nonprofits, but the people they serve. By leaning into this idea, organizations can reduce redundancy of services. This leads to a pooling of resources and a sharing of information, which helps to create a more efficient and comprehensive delivery of services.
Additionally, collaborating may help nonprofits stretch limited budgets further. By sharing costs, organizations are able to reduce expenses and make better use of their financial resources. Not to mention, this practice can help build capacity and brand awareness.
RMHC and its collaborators
Over the last five years, RMHC has reinforced its mission by partnering with a variety of community collaborators whose missions overlap with the needs of RMHC’s families.
For example, RMHC partners with Completely KIDS who offers curriculum-based programs for children, along with activities for adults. While education is not directly related to RMHC Omaha’s mission, research supports the idea that chronically ill children often experience gaps in learning due to illness and travel.
Another example is RMHC’s collaboration with HERE, a group that offers mindful parenting tools and techniques, along with yoga poses, activities and breathing exercises for children that help with stress, anxiety, courage, resilience, and self-love. Research shows that families of sick children can benefit from positive mental health practices.
By combining services, RMHC is able to offer a higher level of support for its families, while its collaborators benefit from expanded reach. Further, this has been done with minimal, if any, increases in budget for either organization creating the opportunity for one donor to support multiple nonprofits with one gift.
Ultimately, collaboration among nonprofits can lead to better outcomes for the populations they serve. When organizations work together, they can have a greater impact on the issues they care about and make a difference in the lives of those they serve.