Top Tips for Collaboration from Collaboration Champions

Top tips for collaborating are shared by a few of our 'Collaboration Champions'; sector leaders who know first hand the challenges and benefits of working in collaboration.
Every effort is made to ensure that the contents of this document are accurate, but the advice given should not be relied on as a definitive legal statement.

Since 2011 CollaborationNI has worked with more than 850 VCSE organisations in Northern Ireland helping them to plan and execute their collaborative projects. A few of the leaders we have worked with offer these words of advice:

Roisin Foster, Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Focus

Roisin Foster, Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Focus
  • Be open to new learning; you can always learn from other organisations.
  • Think about your beneficiaries; collaboration can help you reach more people and provide better services.
  • Be patient; collaborative working has great benefits, but it does slow everything down.

Read Better Together - a partnership between Cancer Focus and Lilac

Maeve Monaghan, Chief Executive Officer, NOW Project

Maeve Monaghan, Chief Executive Officer, NOW Project
  • Get your own house in order before funders try to do it for you; begin a dialogue for moving from partnership to true collaboration.
  • Expert facilitation can allow you to have difficult conversations and explore ideas and opportunities; it is invaluable.
  • True collaboration takes time and requires development of systems and processes and buy-in from all levels of the organisations involved; don’t expect it to happen overnight.

Read more about the collaboration between the NOW Project and Stepping Stones in Joint Working for Public Service Delivery: a model of collaborative working.

Grace Henry, Organisational Development Consultant

Grace Henry, Organisational Development Consultant
  • See it as a positive; sharing resources, ideas, and creativity and developing solutions together is a good thing for the sector.
  • When it’s the right thing to do for your beneficiaries then it’s the right thing to do for your organisation.
  • Reducing costs can be a driver, but effective partnership requires significant planning, adaptability, drive and commitment.

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