Author: Peter Cantelon, Executive Director
There is strength in unity.
Perhaps you have heard it said a rope of many cords is stronger than a single cord on its own. The principle is the same. When you have multiple people or organizations jointly committed to a goal or objective success is more likely.
In the non-profit space we might refer to this as cross-sector collaboration and whether you know it or not, you are involved if you work with or contribute to a non-profit. Cross-sector collaboration occurs between public, private and non-profit bodies.
The most basic form of cross-sector collaboration is when a level of government commits funding or grants to a non-profit for a project. When this is done the government body contributes strength through investment to an idea with an objective it believes in.
The non-profit takes the funding and uses it to implement or strengthen the implementation of a project. It could be a capital project like the construction of a women’s shelter or a program like a food cupboard.
Once the contribution occurs the government body has a vested interest in the success of the project. This helps to ensure accountability and that project milestones and objectives are met. The more partners (or cords in the rope) the greater the resources available, the more vested interest, the higher the accountability.
According to a report from The North-South Institute “The combination of each organization’s distinct capabilities can lead to an exchange of resources that allows public, private, and non-profit organizations to achieve organizational and development objectives more effectively (Googins and Rochlin 2000; Austin and Seitanidi 2012).”
When it comes to ethical investment and social finance every contributor, be they investors or donors, becomes a cord in the rope that is being built to lift people out of poverty. Every investment or donation makes you part of the solution. You take on a vested interest and help to hold the project or program accountable to its goals through your involvement.
There are numerous examples of cross-sector collaboration in this space. Let’s use a seniors’ affordable housing initiative as an example. You may have a grassroots community association or non-profit leading the charge. They require financial institutions like a local credit union or bank to assist with financing. The Jubilee Fund may be required to guarantee a loan from such an FI.
Along the path local, provincial and federal government bodies become involved in funding. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation may offer long-term mortgage based on subsidized rent availability. Funding could also come from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. A local non-profit construction company may get involved at a contractor level while a local religious body like a church, synagogue or mosque may also support the initiative.
Now we have a project with nearly a dozen cords from across different sectors woven together into an incredibly strong support structure.
Cross-sector collaboration is not simply a nice to have but a must if you are looking to build the most successful program or initiative you can.
Such efforts reflect community and demonstrate the strength and value of working together. Over more than 20 years Jubilee Fund has worked with dozens of like-minded organizations and people from donors and investors, through financial institutions and social impact organizations like daycares, affordable housing initiatives, women’s shelter and more.
The community that you build through collaboration provides critical access to a network of knowledge and resources that you would never be able to build alone.
If you are looking to implement a project that helps reduce poverty (childcare, shelters, food security, mental and physical health and well-being, affordable housing etc.) consider reaching out to us at www.jubileefund.ca. We can assist you in connecting with numerous organizations to collaborate with you.
Let us help you build an unbreakable support structure. Let us collaborate with you.
You can read the study by The North-South Institute referenced earlier here – The-Value-of-Cross-Sector-Development-Partnerships.pdf (nsi-ins.ca)