By Esmael Ansari
In the nonprofit work I have done over the years, I have found one consistent theme; it does not matter whether you are a large nonprofit with a stable endowment or a small, local nonprofit struggling to keep the doors open, both are constantly battling for additional financial and human capital. The pursuit of more donors and volunteers is a steady challenge for so many nonprofits. I have spent countless hours with nonprofit executive directors and board members hashing out plans to attract new donors and volunteers, and subsequently trying to figure out how to keep these new donors or volunteers engaged.
It is a large, but necessary time requirement that can distract from the mission of the organization, one I am trying to lessen at the organizations to which I volunteer my time in board positions. I am the president of a business development organization and the vice president of a theater arts school; both are local organizations that serve the same region. These are two seemingly different organizations (one teaches children to act and sing, and the other supports small business owners); however, regardless of the difference in service provided, a common mission or goal for which to share resources can often be found for many disparate nonprofits.
By sharing resources, nonprofits can lessen the strain on their own donors and volunteers. It allows each organization to focus more on the mission and less on the constant drum beat of more donors and volunteers. It provides both organizations the opportunity to draw from more experience, ideas, contacts and membership. The boards I volunteer on did not always communicate with other organizations in a collaborative way. We are beginning to share more information and resources for the betterment of the region and patrons we serve. For example, the theater arts school is teaming up with the local board of trades to host a joint fundraiser in October. The committee for this event is co-chaired by a member of each board, with additional board members and outside volunteers from each group working together to develop and execute this event.
There are plenty of these types of opportunities out there. I encourage you to take a look at where you work or volunteer, and see how you can break down communication barriers with others to share resources to maximize the impact of your work and the work of others with a common goal.