COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY BUILDING: Reduce Redundancy & Increase Impact (Part 1)


COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY BUILDING: REDUCE REDUNDANCY and INCREASE IMPACT (Part 1) I have seen people doing some amazing things over the years working with different groups in the non-profit and for-profit sector.  It has also become apparent that many groups who are passionate about their missions often struggle with the day to day work that it takes to efficiently run an organization.  Many are working on a shoestring budget and trying to do all the marketing, financial, payroll, public relations, human resources, and other administration activities by themselves.  Many impact investors would love to fund these organizations but are reluctant to give money to groups who do not have the internal capacity to keep their act together.  That is why it seems like the organizations that already have are the ones that continue to get. It has been a challenge to get groups to work together for a couple of reasons.  Getting organizations to schedule meetings, agree on set of guidelines for collaboration, and adopt an MOU seems almost impossible in their already exasperatingly busy schedules. I have often attended meetings with numerous organizations that are doing similar things. These meetings are often organized by funders who reserve the room and order the pizza.   People get excited and come up with great ideas for collaborations at those meetings.  Then each of the people go back to their busy lives dealing with the priorities of their organization and never visit those ideas again until the next time someone reserves a room and orders pizza. How can we make it easier for people to collaborate? Grow Purpose has come up with some simple ideas that we are beginning to put into practice. People collaborate all the time and don’t even realize it.  When a construction crew builds a house, the guys doing the flooring may never meet the electricians or the landscapers.  There is usually someone with an idea who raises the funds and works with an architect to design the house. Then they hire a general contractor who is in charge of hiring all the sub-contractors and coordinating everyone so that the home is built on schedule.  The owner monitors the work and helps them get through any issues. This is a model that can be used for collaborative community building.  By working with community leaders and residents, priority issues can be identified and an architectural plan can be devised to work on potential solutions.  A general contractor can then coordinate the different organizations in order to implement the plan.  Everyone will be paid for their work. In this way, different groups will be working together on a project with each one concentrating on their area of expertise. This will streamline the process and cut through the bureaucracy  that often hinders progress and keeps people from working together. Grow Purpose has been working on a couple of different versions of this model that will be discussed in further detail in upcoming posts.

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