Collaborations SHOULDN’T be launched unless there is something that can be done together that can’t be achieved alone. Collaborations allow groups to play to their strengths while leveraging their efforts.
Alignment allows for everyone to feel they are getting something out of the process for themselves.
Create opportunities for individuals and groups to participate at depths of commitment they feel comfortable with.
Highlighting the diverse nature of the collaboration membership can provide stronger interest from media, influencers and funders. Different groups can do what they do best while connecting and co-operating to achieve alignment of their work with others’. Having diverse voices reinforce key points means that target audiences get clearer, consistent messaging, rather than hearing a multitude of various voices and concerns.

When groups share information about their planned events – and adjust dates and formats to avoid overlap of activities and content – duplication of effort and splitting of audience attention can be avoided. With agreement from the group, an individual or organization needs to be tasked with the role of supporting the collaboration including organizing meetings, circulating information, creating a central communications centre (such as a website or a regular time for phone meetings), developing joint funding proposals, and providing facilitation support to the group. This is because participants represent different perspectives and sectors, have different sources of information or intelligence, and because they call on the types of personal skills that support group work – self-editing, active listening, diplomacy and consensus building as well as accepting some ambiguous times when groups must also acknowledge their differences. Time has to be spent building trust and demonstrating value to the individual organizations.
Integration – where groups begin influencing each other’s strategies, products and directions, emerges out of alignment. Keep people engaged by providing them value and giving them tasks that lead to valuable outcomes for them individually. Some groups may find that their capacity and interest in participating may change over time.

Consider the assets represented by all the participating groups, including networks and access to different kinds of resources.
This role can be taken on by a collaboration member, but a pitfall is that the person coordinating this work may be hindered by playing two roles, presenting challenges to their ability to effectively represent their own organization’s interests or to lead the dialogue when they feel the need to do so. Even when organizations are generally in agreement with broad outcomes, building the space and trust for collaboration dominates the early stages. Collaboration is time consuming at the best of times so when you do engage, have very clear objectives and outcomes. The pitfall here is that an external player may not have the core knowledge or relationships to allow them to effectively support the group through some of the challenges it may face.

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