HNewsFrontCover  4Scarcity of resources is an ever-present concern in our world and in our field. When resources are scarce, it can be tempting to adopt a mindset that there aren’t any resources—time, human, financial—to share or use for meaningful collaborations. Yet, when done carefully and thoughtfully, collaborations can help augment resources, freeing mental bandwidth to solve problems effectively, to increase impact, and to use resources more efficiently.

Of course, not all collaborations are created equal. To learn what ingredients made collaborations a winning proposition, I turned to my colleagues for examples of when the outcome of a partnership was greater than the sum of its parts.

Takeaway Messages:
Each case study offers a key takeaway message, such as:

  • What happens behind the scenes is as important as what happens out front; make the most of your role, whatever that may be.
  • The history of your organization may contain clues for meaningful collaborations with regional, national, or even global impact.
  • Partnerships will be more enjoyable, if not more successful and enduring, if you are honest about what you have to offer and what you have to gain, and if you check your ego at the door.

Questions for Readers:
Each case study offers questions for reflection and consideration; some examples:

  1. What is your exit strategy for a collaboration that has run its course?
  2. Is a potentially powerful partnership being sidelined due to personality conflict? And what role do you play in the success or failure of that potential partnership?
  3. If there is a dearth of like-organizations in your area, how might you connect to organizations with compatible missions or themes in other parts of the country or world?

Other Resource:
Michaeleen Doucleff, “How Money Worries Can Scramble Your Thinking,”, 29 August 2013.


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