Building Alliances That Work
Are organizations really seeking new ways of doing things collaboratively? Or is it mostly lip service?
Models of successful partnerships and integrations are all around if you know where to look. A few areas PMA has observed increased alliance building include marketing, advocacy, and financial management and reporting. The following are case studies in each category:
Habitat Metrolina Partners was formed in the wake of a study into efficiencies that could be attained through collaboration and integration. The study, funded by the Catalyst Fund managed by Foundation For The Carolinas, resulted in a recommendation that eight local affiliates (now nine), should create a shared-services network. Each affiliate contributes a small percentage of revenue from their ReStores to fund Metrolina Partners. One of the first demonstrations of the new collaboration was with ReStore advertising. According to Meg Robertson, Executive Director of Habitat Metrolina Partners in an interview conducted last year: “Collaborating on ReStore advertising was a no-brainer, and it led to a shared employee, which was very important to seeing how these eight Habitat affiliates could share costs and gain something together that none of them could afford alone.”
Advocacy is one area where so many organizations have good intentions but rarely the time to implement effective strategies. For the theatre sector in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, this is particularly true, as there are few paid staff positions and many needs that need to be filled. The current strategic planning effort being facilitated by PMA in conjunction with the Arts & Science Council on behalf of the region’s theatre sector has prioritized advocacy alongside audience development and resource sharing. In a unique structure, individuals associated with local theatres have been convening since July to co-create a strategic roadmap for increasing participation in theatre. Prioritized audiences include finding civic, corporate, political and faith-based champions for theatre, educating them about the challenges theatres face, and seeking their support as gatekeepers to decision makers. The strategic roadmap calls for a collaborative effort to find these individuals collectively, and efforts are currently underway to develop a tactical implementation plan.
Financial Management & Reporting
During a recent retreat managed by PMA, Huntersville-based UMAR was considering new ways to increase revenue. The organization, which provides supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, was reacting to news that individuals served by its residential services were being reclassified by the new MCOs across North Carolina that manage reimbursements for state and federal funding. The changes would mean a new way of processing claims and increased paperwork. While UMAR had the staff competency to adjust to these changes, it was posited that smaller provider agencies would be less equipped. Could UMAR provide processing fulfillment for those smaller providers, charging a fee for the service that would be a win-win for both? The strategic planning committee of UMAR’s board of directors would consider this opportunity alongside other revenue generation strategies.