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Philanthropy Thought Leader Uncategorized

Together, nothing is impossible


Lita Pardi, senior program officer, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

This summer we’re running some of the “best of” our Philanthropy Blogs from the past year. Enjoy this week’s blog originally posted on October 28, 2013 by Lita Pardi, Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Like any smart business, effective nonprofits evaluate their operations and programming on a regular basis to ensure they are making the greatest impact. These days, nonprofits are focusing more and more on partnering with others to leverage resources and achieve greater efficiencies. While many organizations see the value of strategic partnerships, they have lacked the time and often financial resources to pursue these collaborations.

For the past four years, The Community Foundation has provided resources and support to help Atlanta nonprofits explore this important area. And as a result, we have seen organizations execute a joint fundraising campaign, explore establishing a shared-services organization, determine the viability of sharing administrative services, and assess the feasibility of and implement mergers.

Let’s be clear… this is not easy work. Partnerships and restructuring is complex: there are unknown risks, which require a high level of trust among leadership; internal dynamics and varying personalities among the key players; and organizations with differing levels of capacity and expectations. In order for a partnership to be successful – whether in business or in our own personal lives – we know that it must be the “right fit.”

One successful partnership was announced just recently with the merger of Refugee Family Services and Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta. Last year, The Community Foundation awarded these organizations a grant to assess the strength and likelihood of a merger in order to better serve the refugee community in metro Atlanta. To accomplish this, both organizations knew they had to re-imagine themselves and challenge the status quo. And they did. Our community will be stronger because of that.

Winston Churchill once said, “If we are together, nothing is impossible. If we are divided, all will fail.” When you connect with nonprofits as a donor, volunteer or board member, ask their leaders about their partnerships. Encourage and support them in working differently and in collaboration with others. Partnerships have become an integral part of strategic thinking and are a key element to deeper community impact.


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