Partnerships with other NGOs can help
One way to work around this is to enter partnerships with NGOs that have been established a while ago and have experiences with grants. This way, you can benefit from the track record these NGOs built but still implement your own ideas and projects. While this system is very good to convince donors of your trustworthiness, it is also a great way for your own organization to learn from more experienced ones.
Your partner can be an NGO that works in the same field or in the same geographical area as you do. Of course, a partner organization will also want to benefit from the partnership, so think of ways that both of you can get something out of it before proposing a cooperation. Also, follow a certain set of rules to make sure that your partnership is fruitful. Applying for joint grants is a great way to make yourself known and set your first steps in the fundraising world.
Partnerships among NGOs-Why are they Helpful for my Fundraising
Partnerships among NGOs is a great way to amplify your NGOs reach and impact. In the last years it has become more common for NGOs to enter partnerships with peer NGOs. When Partnerships among NGOs applying for funding – sometimes this is even required by the donors. But what are the reasons for this? Why should you bother to work out a partnership when you feel like you can do the work alone? There are a couple of reasons why partnerships are worth the effort!
You can combine your experiences
Particularly when you just started working with your NGO, it might be difficult for you to get a donor’s attention because you lack experience. Many donors only want to work with NGOs that have at least a couple of years of working experience, to make sure that they are sustainable. You cannot change the fact that your NGO is new, but you can get around this requirement by partnering with another NGO that has been existing for longer and can take the lead in the application.
Partnerships enhance your reach
Small NGOs – especially at the beginning – mostly work in one or two communities. While this makes a lot of sense from their perspective, it also results in a limited number of beneficiaries. Some donors want to see a bigger reach. Partnering with other NGOs that work in neighboring communities can lead to that higher reach. Also, your great project would benefit more people at the same time with just a little bit more effort and investment.
You can combine your skills and save resources
In a partnership of two NGOs, all partners will most likely have different areas of expertise and skills. When applying for funds, it is a great asset when you have different experts for the different focus areas of your proposal. To combine the knowledge and skillsets of the experts of the partner organizations makes your proposal much stronger.
Furthermore, you can save specific resources by sharing them. When working alone, every NGO would need i.e. a project manager, accountant or field worker. When working in a partnership, some of these tasks can be shared. In this way, resources are used much more effectively.
Partnerships among NGOs- 6 Rules to Make it a Success!
Entering a partnership with another NGO has many benefits. Particularly when your own NGO is very new, it makes a lot of sense to get another partner with more experience on board! But how can you make sure an NGO partnership is a success? What are potential pitfalls? In this article, we elaborate a little bit more on this topic.
Sometimes you might only consider a partnership because a donor requests it. If you start planning your partnership while you already write the proposal, you are a bit late though. Look out for partners, even if there is no deadline on the horizon. This way you have enough time to really work out an agreement without pressure and make sure that your partnership is based on a good foundation.
Use the strengths of each partner
A partnership only makes sense, if both sides are benefited by it. Each organization should supplement the other in areas where they are lacking. So be sure to use each partners strength to make the maximum out of a partnership. Be open about your own strengths and weaknesses and discuss this with the other side. In the ideal case, both partners can learn a lot from the other and resources are used in the most effective way.
Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a document where two or more partners formulate their responsibilities and tasks in a partnership. Many times, it also includes a budget. In an MoU, the partners agree on who takes the lead, which tasks will be performed by whom and other details of the implementation. It is also determined, which partner will get reimbursed for what and when.
If you want to form an alliance or partnership with another NGO, it is very important that you sign an MoU. Maybe you have known the other NGO for a long time, or you feel like they are your friends. Still, do not skip the step of signing an MoU, because you never know what the future may hold. Maybe a new board gets elected and they want to set a new focus for their work. Maybe you win that huge grant, and suddenly the partnership that was symbolic just a couple of months ago has to handle a lot of money. Always make sure you have everything in writing and everybody is clear about the base of your work.
While we just stressed the importance of signing a contract that determines the responsibilities of each partner, at the same time it is important that you do not look at this contract as something that is set in stone. Situations change, so you should be ready to change your MoU in accordance! Always make sure though that all partners agree with your prosed changes and that everyone is on the same page.
Have frequent meetings
Like in every kind of partnership, communication is key to success. Make sure you have frequent meetings to discuss progress, next steps and potential problems. Be open with your partner and try to address issues head-on and very early before they grow into something that is much more difficult to handle.
Don´t stop after a project ends
If you applied for funding together and the implementation was a success, don’t stop there. Use this joint success as a base for future collaborations and build on it for an ongoing partnership. Together you are always stronger than alone.