Are You Ready to Collaborate

Are You Ready to Collaborate

02 July 2014

Following the announcement of Phase 2 of CollaborationNI, we want you to ask if your organisation is ready to collaborate with these three quick questions.

Is your organisation meeting its objectives in the best way possible?

We believe that organisations should always be open to the idea of collaborating with others to reach the best outcome for their beneficiaries.

It is important to ask, on an ongoing basis, if the resources you have internally are creating the best end results. There could be other organisations that are better placed to help on certain projects and this is when collaboration is important.

Would collaboration be in the best interests of your beneficiaries?

Any collaboration must further your own objectives so you need to be clear on your reasons for the partnership.

You need to ask what your organisation will stand to win or lose from the situation, what both parties will be bringing to the table and whether the structures of both will be compatible.

In many cases, charities will have similar or compatible objectives and where this is the case, the process can be more straightforward.

Is there a structure to suit your collaboration?

The Charity Commission outlines guidance on collaboration which states that charities and other organisations can operate together in a variety of formal or informal structures for the purpose of providing the best possible services for their beneficiaries.

Three common structures are:

  • the 'group structure', a formal association of separate organisations;
  • the 'affiliated or federal structure' where a parent body offers support, strategic and central services to its members or affiliated bodies;
  • the 'coalition structure' where a group of charities works together for a common purpose. 

The Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) recently published a report into the future of collaboration support in the VCSE sector in Northern Ireland.

This report, along with an interview with Trust Director of Operations, Nigel McKinney, who heads up our work on Collaboration, can be found here.

To find out more about the work the Trust is doing to support collaboration in Northern Ireland, please click here.

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