This past week I have had the opportunity to meet with a variety of nonprofit, philanthropic, and community leaders. The passion of these leaders in finding solutions to eliminate poverty, find affordable housing, and address issues of disparity and discrimination is inspiring. Many of them are working with other nonprofits and foundations to address these issues in a bigger way.
For example, the CenDel Foundation has partnered with the Delaware Community Foundation, business leaders, and nonprofit leaders to identify opportunities to improve the quality of life in Central Dover. Out of that collaboration emerged a Central Dover Revitalization plan to improve safety, engage the city’s youth, expand family services, boost home ownership, and support new development downtown. A national grant has been secured to kick off the funding needed for project implementation over the next five years. But these organizations haven’t stopped there. They are continuing to meet and find new ways to collaborate to improve their operational efficiencies and expand mission impact.
At this summer’s annual DANA Conference, another collaborative initiative took place. DANA, the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), the Delaware Grantmakers Association (DGA), United Way of Delaware (UW), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) sampled over 100 key community leaders in the nonprofit, government, education, philanthropic, and business arenas in order to listen to their ideas on how to make Delaware, and in particular, how to make the nonprofit sector great. We were thrilled to have gotten a full list of ideas, which were then synthesized into several themes. Our collaborative organizations then sent out the themes to conference attendees to be ranked. Their feedback told us there is:
- A desire for more collaboration to improve efficiencies as well as enhance collective impact;
- A push to evaluate community needs and understand which organizations are serving those needs throughout the State and how they are doing it;
- A curiosity to explore whether organization consolidation or expansion should take place and how; and
- A need to identify common outcome measurements that permit the community, nonprofits, and funders to make better decisions on resource allocation and decision making.
|Did you know: DANA has a collaboration training coming up! “Building a Sustainable Organization with Collaboration” will be held October 14, 15, and 16 in all 3 counties. Click here to learn more and register.
As I continue to meet the leaders of DANA’s partner organizations, members, elected officials, and community and philanthropic leaders, I will explore these themes to learn more about how DANA can help facilitate their achievement. Some work on this has already begun through conversations this summer among representatives from DANA, DGA, DCF, UW, and AFP. If you have ideas or wish to talk about this further, please let me know. Your voice matters.