Database of Nonprofit Collaborations

The Foundation Center (which describes itself on its Web site as “national nonprofit service organization recognized as the nation’s leading authority on organized philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust”) has launched the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, a collection of cases and best practices for collaboration by nonprofits. It’s available at http://collaboration.foundationcenter.org/search/searchGenerator.php.

There’s a basic search, where you can search by methods of collaboration, or there’s an incredibly detailed advanced search where you can search by keyword, collaboration type, geographic location, reasons to collaborate, number of participating organizations, and etc. (lots of etc.) I stuck with the simple search and looked for collaborations that combined marketing efforts. Results are presented in a table that includes the name of the organization, city and state, type of collaboration, and collaboration focus area.

Clicking on the name of the organization will bring you a detail page with a lot of basic facts about the collaboration — the organizations involved, the year it was established, management structure, challenges, community impact, and so on. To get a narrative — the story of what was done, you have to look up at the top of the page, before the list of facts, to a sentence that reads something like “Click here to read this collaboration’s narrative.” You’ll be prompted to download a PDF file. There you can get more details about how the collaboration came about, what went into it, how it worked… So while I was able to get a great deal of information about “Blue Ridge Forever” from its detail page in the database, it took downloading and reading the four-page PDF to get the details, including the classic line, “Collaboration is definitely not for wimps!”

This database has a lot of information, but don’t skip downloading the PDFs or you’ll miss a lot of it.

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