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Strategic Alliances

Strategic alliances can take many forms, including both informal arrangements for sharing information and resources, strengthening policy initiatives, and increasing operational efficiency, as well as more formal arrangements such as joint ventures, partnerships, consolidations, or mergers with nonprofit and for-profit entities. Informal and formal alliances can help to strengthen individual nonprofit capacity and the capacity of the sector as a whole. Nonprofits should seriously assess strategic alliances with public, private, and charitable organizations for viability and risk prior to engaging in an alliance. Nonprofits should initiate and promote cooperation and coordination whenever feasible to maximize the resources available to the communities they serve.
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5 Tips for Nonprofit Collaborations
This article outlines issues to consider when entering into collaborations with other organizations.
A Common Sense
Warren Cook and Bo Norris, with Jennifer Boes
Article/Blog
An article on the ways Maine thought leaders are working to drive widespread social, environmental and economic change through collaboration.
Advancing Together: The Role of the Nonprofit Board in Successful Strategic Alliances
Stern International Consulting
Article/Blog
Based on a past MANP SkillBuilder, this document provides an overview of the collaboration continuum, the opportunities and challenges of alliances, and guidance about the role of the board in creating effective partnerships.
Assessing Community Needs Toolkit
Community Toolbox
Guide/Tool
Extensive toolkit on assessing community need and developing collaboration.
Charity Channel
Organization/Agency
Online community of nonprofit sector professionals throughout the world. It is the oldest and largest online community of nonprofit professionals. Resources include: connection creation, articles and links.
Collaboration Assessment Checklist
Journal of Extension
Assessment
This self-evaluation tool examines thirteen factors that can influence the collaborative process. This free checklist can provide group members with an understanding of the strengths and challenges they face as they work to reach their goals.
Collaboration Hub
Foundation Center
Guide/Tool
Find resources on ways that nonprofits can collaborate to achieve their missions, such as through mergers, joint programming, and other forms of collaboration
Collective Impact
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Article/Blog
An in-depth article on collective impact, including the conditions necessary for success, and links to related to articles.
Community Collaboratives Toolbox
Assessment, Guide/Tool
This toolbox is based on extensive research of  cross-sector collaborations and communities that demonstrated needle-moving (+10%) change on a community-wide metric. This resource for local officials, nonprofit leaders, and other community leaders includes a detailed guide of key activities and resources for each stage of a collaborative's life cycle, as well as an assessment module to better understand whether a collaborative is prepared to move to the next stage. There are also tools on how to structure collaboratives most effectively and how to best generate meaningful community participation.
Connected Citizens: The Power, Peril and Potential of Networks
#netcitizens, Monitor Institute, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Article/Blog
This essay highlights groups that are creatively connecting citizens who are making a difference , explores how technology might impact public participation and leadership in the future, and  considers the role philanthropy can play in harnessing network-centric practices.
Emerging Partnerships: New Ways for a New World
Peter Drucker Foundation
Article/Blog
A summary of key points and questions from the Drucker Foundation Emergin.
Finding and Managing Consultants and Vendors
Guide/Tool
The following resources will help you find and manage consultants and vendors, whether for a defined project, or ongoing support. If you need a referral for support on fundraising, strategic planning, legal issues, accounting issues, meeting facilitation, technology, or any other outside support, start here. (Many of the consultants and vendors in MANP's Yellow Pages offer nonprofit rates.)
Group Power! Or Group Problems? Making Coalitions Work for You
M+R Research Labs
Article/Blog
Best practices for building effective coalitions.
GuideStar
Organization/Agency
National database of nonprofit organizations with detailed organization information and IRS form 990. Post your nonprofit mission and achievements to increase your visibility. Make connections with other nonprofits.
How to Organize Alliances of Multiple Organizations
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Article/Blog
This article identifies seven elements shared by highly effective multi-organization alliances.
IRS Charity Search
IRS
Guide/Tool
A tool that allows anyone to search for tax-exempt organizations and look up information about their federal tax status and filings, including whether an organization has had their tax-exempt status revoked.
Legal Considerations for Corporate Partnerships
Nonprofit Quarterly
Article/Blog
A good overview of issues to consider before forming a partnership with a corporation, including whether the partnership would trigger UBIT (Unrelated Business Income Tax) liability or jeopardize your tax exempt status.
MelissaData Nonprofit Lookups
Guide/Tool
Nonprofit lookups hosted by Melissa Data lookups, a directory of information in a wide variety of categories. See 'lookups' tab for complete listings.
Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)
Article/Blog, Sample/Template
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines expectations and agreements for a formal partnership. These resources will help you with the process of vetting partnerships and crafting a clear agreement.
National Network for Collaboration
Organization/Agency
Collaboration and alliances support organization which provides links, guides, and other resources.
Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives
Bridgespan
Research/Report
This report outlines the common characteristics of community collaboratives that are creating measurable change as identified and analyzed by the White House Council for Community Solutions.
Nonprofit Mergers
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool, Video/Tutorial
Good governance requires that boards ask themselves whether their mission could be better served by joining with another nonprofit. There are natural entry points to this conversation, such as executive transition, financial crisis, major funding shifts, etc. This compilation of resources outlines best practices for assessing and managing merger and restructuring opportunities, including how to be realistic about what it takes to merge successfully.
Nonprofit Networking: The New Way to Grow
Harvard Business School
Article/Blog
How can a nonprofit increase its social impact? This article outlines the power of strategic networks as an alternative to growing in size.
Partnering for Scale and Impact
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Podcast
In this audio lecture, recorded at the Stanford Social Innovation Review
Strategic Analysis
Free Management Library
Guide/Tool
Information and resources regarding environmental scans and identifying SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
The 6 Ds of Needs Assessments
Community Solutions
Guide/Tool
A simple overview of the key questions to address during a community needs assessment.
The Networked Nonprofit
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Article/Blog
This article by Jane Wei-Skillern and Sonia Marciano argues that organizations should focus less on growing themselves and more on cultivating their networks.
The Tactics of Collaboration
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Article/Blog
This article outlines four steps to operationalizing a strategic partnership.
Third Sector New England
Organization/Agency
Nonprofit management support organization providing events, publications, articles, and trainings.
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network
Organization/Agency
A nonprofit network geared towards strengthening the nonprofit sectors next generation of leaders.
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