Working Collaboratively with Staff & Partner Organizations
Abe Rybeck (The Theater Offensive) and Eryn Johnson (Community Art Center) reflect with fellow coalition member Madeleine Steczynski (ZUMIX) on how collaborative fundraising was empowering and built trust among partner organizations.
1. Set A Great Tone
Begin your planning meetings with an invitation to everyone to be generous and honest. Share your fears and dreams with the group.
2. Share Your Goals
Clarify your reason for sharing donors and collaboratively fundraising. Do you have an external incentive, like a donor asking you to participate? Are you coming together on your own around a shared concern or opportunity? Define why you’re working together and write down a shared statement.
3. Put Money to the Side
Define what shared success might look like for each of these, and document your ideas as shared goals.
- Leadership growth
- Professional development & capacity building for staff
- Organizational benefits
- Sector-wide benefits
4. Consider Donor Care
Ask each person to think about their donors and how to respectfully honor the trusting personal relationships they might have with their donors while alsosharing their donors’ information and introducing them to other organizations. Lead a conversation in which the group explores these questions:
- Do our donors have any implicit or explicit expectation of confidentiality? What conversations, practices, or guidelines should we put in place to maintain their goodwill and protect their privacy?
- How do we each define “major donors”? How would they classify themselves? How do we define “major donor” as we create guidelines for collaborative fundraising?
- Are there donors we should bring in early to help guide, organize, and execute our planning?
- What is the geographic range of our organizations and our donors? How should we define this?
5. Determine Who Does What!
Any planning meeting requires a list of tasks and to-dos. Here are some critical questions to cover as you plan as a group:
- What resources can each organization offer? Examples: development staff, a graphic designer, event space. Organizations of different sizes have different gifts—each organization has something of value to bring to the table.
- How will we share donor information and lists? What are we comfortable with, and what pushes our limits in a constructive way? Make a plan that everyone agrees to.
- Commit to introducing donors to one another. How will you accomplish this, and what does success look like?
- Decide who will handle donations, pledges, and donor follow up.
- Agree to debrief following the event-how and when will this happen? Who will lead?