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Posted on November 30th, 2021 in Community & Organizational Planning

~by Steve Yoder, Community Development Regional Educator, Purdue Extension


In the world of grant writing, funders often look for ways to get the biggest bang for the buck. In other words, they’re looking to fund ideas that result in the greatest community impact for each dollar they give away. Funders owe it to their boards, donors, and supporters to distribute their assets wisely. 

One of the ways funders stretch those dollars is by supporting effective collaborations among community organizations. There’s often a synergy that occurs when two or more groups combine their assets to more efficiently address a community need.  

For example, a public botanical garden and a local arts organization might join forces to create a summer concert series to improve the quality of life and spur economic development in a tourism-dependent community. The garden’s assets could include an attractive outdoor venue with developed facilities like parking lots, restrooms, etc. The arts organization’s assets could include relationships with musicians and experience promoting a concert series. Both organizations might have a mailing list of members with overlapping interests. The synergy that happens when both organizations combine forces to develop an idea like this can be attractive to potential funders.  

If you are thinking of collaborating with another community organization to develop a proposal, consider asking yourself and your potential partner the following questions: 

  • Does the partnership make sense for all involved? 
  • What does each partner bring to the table? (Knowledge, resources, credibility, etc.) 
  • How well do all the partners work together? 
  • Does each partner have a clear role? 
  • How does collaborating save time and/or resources? How does it increase outcomes? 

Answering those questions, and conveying that information in the proposal, may allow you to check off many of the boxes on a funder’s list and give your collaboration a greater chance of success.