Nonprofit Collaboration - Tools and Funding Opportunitiesby Anne Yurasek on June 02, 2010
In the last month or so, we have come across some exciting funding opportunities for collaboration as well as some online tools that may be helpful to nonprofits looking to collaborate!
The IdeaEncore Network is an online marketplace for the sharing of ready-to-use tools, presentations, course outlines, templates, and project plans within and between nonprofit organizations. The system is designed to provide incentives for sharing and a range of intellectual property protections for shared materials. If there is a network of nonprofit agencies interested in sharing materials, the network provides a free, easy-to-use platform. Those materials can also be free to network members, while being offered at a cost to other nonprofits using IdeaEncore. This tool promotes not only knowledge sharing, but provides the opportunity for revenue generation. What excites us most about IdeaEncore is the deep set of relationships with nonprofit capacity builders that the creators have established, from the Alliance for Nonprofit Management to the CT Association of Nonprofits. IdeaEncore is working to establish itself as the go-to site for nonprofits interested in saving time (by not re-creating the wheel) and learning from others. We are also pleased to announce that we have shared many of our articles and materials with the IdeaEncore network as well. Check this new tool out!
So here's the issue: a group of nonprofits with information, interested in sharing that information across the group, who have realized that combining excel spreadsheets by hand is cumbersome and time-consuming, and the information must be gathered quickly? Answer: GoogleDocs. Free, easy to use, and easy to access. The Spreadsheet option allows you to create a spreadsheet (similar to Excel) the can be shared with anyone using an open URL link. The spreadsheet can be edited - or locked for viewing. If you are interested, in a quick solution to support a collaborative effort, GoogleDocs can be immensely helpful. If you would like some additional support on how to do this, we are happy to help.
Funding Opportunity in Connecticut: Nonprofit Incentive Collaboration Grant Program
It has come to our attention via an email this morning from the Nonprofit Assistance Initiative, which is part of the Connecticut Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Waterbury, that the State of Connecticut has announced a Request for Applications for grant funding for two or more nonprofits to collaborate. The program's purpose is to provide grants for one-time infrastructure costs to implement consolidation of programs or services. Grant funds may be used for the purchase of, or improvements to, facilities; refinancing of facility loans; equipment purchases; energy conservation, transportation and technology projects; planning and administrative costs related to such purchases, improvements, refinancing, or projects; and relocation expenses related to physical consolidation. The term “programs and services” is broadly defined to include joint ventures involving share business operations, functions, or services. There is total of $5 million in funding available statewide. The deadline for applying is September 22, 2010. For more information, view the application instructions.
The 2011 Collaboration Prize, a national award designed to identify and showcase models of collaboration among nonprofit organizations, is now accepting applications. The Collaboration Prize will award a total of $250,000 to the collaborations that best exemplify the impact that can result from working together. Each of the eight finalists will receive $12,500 and the winner will receive an additional $150,000. The finalists and winning collaboration will be announced in April 2011. The online application, eligibility criteria and details about the selection process are available at thecollaborationprize.org. There you also can learn more about the 2009 Prize finalists and winners and access the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, resource for everyone seeking real-life examples of how nonprofit organizations are working together. The application process closes on July 16, 2010.
Have you come across other tools and funding opportunities focused on collaboration? Share them here!