With the abundance of charities in New Zealand, with many working in the same area, providing the same or similar services, should more be collaborating?

Perhaps organisations can work with each other more to not only potentially deliver more services, to more people, but in doing so help reduce each others overheads.

There are situations where organisations will work with each other to avoid a clash of appeal timing and, yes, there are sector bodies who oversee and help co-ordinate certain public appeals; but could more be done?

If more organisations worked closer together the sector itself perhaps might be in a better shape, supporters may feel their support, their funds are being used in a better way.

I’ve spoken with some in the sector who think they would be in better position if they collaborated more but, they’re reluctant to pursue it as they fear losing control of their organisation, that they may lose public appeal for what they are doing. This can likely be easily allayed by having at the outset of any collaborative endeavour organisations simply have to have ground rules to which they agree and will stick to.

Often organisations struggle to source information, gain participation and shift public perception of an issue; often expending vast sums of money, on things other organisations are also trying to do; through collaboration this can be avoided, and focus can go back to the core activities of organisations.

One area where organization can be better of through collaboration is the sharing of skills, experience and administrative tasks; imagine if you had a few organisation working together in a single space; they could not only share skills but the expense of the admin and related overheads, leaving more funds available to carry-out the work they are there to do.

Look at how places have been established for business to share space, equipment at overhead costs, this has enabled them to grow and share knowledge. If commercial entities can do it, why can’t organisations in the charitable sector?

I’ve often quoted something a manager of mine told me years ago “competition without out opposition” – and that’s what collaboration can be.

Would, or does your organisation collaborate with others in the sector, if so how has this enabled you to better carry out the work you do, have you seen any improvements in the quality of your service offering?

If you support charities, would you like to see more collaboration between organisations, particularly those working in the same space?

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