Could collaborating with another community or statutory organisation give you the skills and capacity needed to put together a great idea to improve people’s health and wellbeing?
Through the Healthier Futures fund, NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough is making £2 million available to (VCSE) partners across the area to deliver health and wellbeing improvements for their local people and communities.
One objective of the fund is to encourage wide engagement in the development and delivery of bids, with VCSE partners leading but joining with other system partners including other VCSE organisations. This blog shares some ideas around working collaboratively.
Collaboration has the power to amplify the impact of organisations, enabling them to achieve greater outcomes than they could alone. This might be by sharing resources, expertise on a particular issue, knowledge of the same beneficiary group, opportunities for coproduction or by sharing complementary but quite different knowledge and experience.
If you’re a small organisation considering joining forces with another organisation to run a project, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Shared Vision, Mission and Ethos:
Do you share a similar vision and goals to your prospective partner. You will need a shared understanding of the project’s purpose and intended outcomes. You’ll also want to look at their track record and reputation. If you are entering into a long-term partnership you will need to undertake due diligence checks on your prospective partner and assess any risks both to your own organisation and any joint activities.
- Complementary Strengths and Expertise:
A successful collaboration should bring together organisations with complementary strengths and expertise. Assess what each partner brings to the table in terms of skills, resources, networks, and experience.
- Clear Roles and Responsibilities:
Establish clear roles and responsibilities and define the specific tasks, functions, and responsibilities of each organisation within the project. Clarify decision-making processes, communication channels, and lines of authority. By setting clear expectations from the outset, you can avoid confusion, minimise conflicts, and foster a productive working relationship.
- Trust and Communication:
Building trust and maintaining open lines of communication are essential elements of successful collaboration. Establish regular communication channels, including meetings, email updates, and shared project management platforms eg Trello, Slack or Miro. Encourage transparency, active listening, and respectful dialogue. Good communication will help build trust enabling constructive problem-solving, joint decision-making, and long-term sustainability.
- Resource Allocation and Funding:
Consider how resources, including financial, human, and material, will be allocated. Discuss and agree upon the distribution of resources, ensuring fairness and accountability. Explore potential funding opportunities that become available when collaborating, such as joint grant applications or shared fundraising efforts.
- Legal and Governance Considerations:
Collaboration often involves legal and governance aspects that must be carefully addressed. Review legal requirements, such as agreements, contracts, and intellectual property rights. Consider how governance structures, decision-making processes, and accountability mechanisms such as safeguarding and health and safety will be managed. Formal collaborations involving a commitment of resources will require legal guidance to provide clarity and protect the interests of all participating partners.
- Exit Strategy and Evaluation:
It’s important to plan for the end of the collaborative project from the beginning. Develop an exit strategy that outlines the steps for project completion, wrap-up, and potential handover of responsibilities. Additionally, incorporate evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact and effectiveness of the collaboration. Regularly review progress, collect feedback, and make necessary adjustments to ensure continuous improvement.
Collaborating with another charity to run a project can significantly enhance your impact. With careful planning and effective communication, these partnerships can harness collective strengths, achieve greater outcomes, and make a profound difference in the communities they serve.
Do you have questions or want a sounding board for your ideas?
Hunts Forum: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Know your partner’ – key issues to think about (charity commission)
This blog was written by Chris Trevorrow, first published as a CCVS blog.