In an opening session at the What Matters Community Luncheon, over 75 nonprofit leaders gathered to have a candid conversation about collaboration. We talked with Meredith Emmett of Third Space Studio to talk about some of the take-aways shared, and how we can continue learning about this beneficial tool for impact.

What were some of the take-aways from the session in April?

I think that many of the takeaways from the collaboration session in April stemmed around finding the “secret sauce” for making it work. These seem to be the most effective ingredients that participants agreed upon:

  • A willingness to stick in relationships with others, to develop those relationships with trust and respect, and a realization that everything takes time. Also a willingness to change yourself, and be open to doing things a little differently. You have to change a little – both sides do.
  • There has to be a big, giant purpose – organizations should come together to accomplish something that no one can do alone. Too often they come together just for the sake of collaborating, when they should be taking on something new, big, impactful and exciting.
  • The importance of keeping track of your progress and maintaining accountability or responsibility towards the end goal. Being able to stay on task with the measurement of your initial goals and outcomes.

How can we continue to learn?

Keep trying, be curious. I think it’s important to remember that none of us really know how to collaborate well. We are all learning. It’s about being really curious, noticing and paying attention to what’s working and doing more of that, as well as paying attention to what’s not working and what those ingredients are that might be changed.

For donors and other funders, it’s important to think about what restrictions you put on funding that may limit or enhance collaboration? Also remember that you are also a partner in a collaborative too. You are bringing the resources to the table, but you have the ability to bring so much more in terms of perspective, relationship and ideas. It’s important to remember that.