Nonprofit Advantage July 2012 : Page 17

Collaboration: Getting the Ball Rolling By Jane Arsenault and Anne Yurasek As more and more nonprofit organizations are considering collaborating with others, many struggle with how to get the ball rolling. Organizations should start by analyzing the set of relationships that they maintain, understand their environment, determine their own “personality” in collaborative efforts, imagine the possibilities and then … get started! Develop a Relational Map It is important to not just think of your own organization’s survival in these times, but also consider the organizations that support the populations they serve and to consciously construct a relational map. A relational map categorizes individuals and organizations that are touched by your organization, assesses the quality of those relationships and includes notes related to the last contact with the individual or category as a whole. The categories should include funders, partners, organizations that you refer to, and those that refer to you, key community organizations, political leaders and others that may be relevant to your organization. Then, as changes in the environment impact your field, monitor that map to understand the effects on the listed organizations. The map should answer the following questions: • Who are the organizations that refer clients to you? • Who do you refer to for ancillary or supportive services? • If your clients need housing supports, or basic needs supports, who is providing them? Continued on next page u It is important to not just think of your own organization’s survival in these times, but also consider the organizations that support the populations they serve and to consciously construct a relational map. CONNECTICUT ASSOCIATION OF NONPROFITS Nonprofit Advantage | July 2012 | Page 17

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