How did we get here?
Years of research with McKinsey & Company, local nonprofit CEOs, and industry experts including BoardSource, La Piana, Nonprofit Finance Fund, Bridgespan, Lodestar Foundation and others revealed the perfect storm of increasing community needs and shrinking resources. This storm is creating more challenges for nonprofits, like insufficient scale, duplicated effort, and undefined leadership succession, which makes it difficult for them to focus on long-term goals, take risks on new ideas, and achieve maximum impact.
A study to analyze the health of the North Texas nonprofit landscape and offer solutions to transform an under-performing and under-resourced nonprofit sector focused on five primary areas of opportunity to make the North Texas nonprofit sector the best in the country. These included:
(1) collaboration infrastructure funding,
(2) human capital improvement,
(3) unrestricted grant-making,
(4) fiscal sponsorship and
(5) thought leadership.
Because the subject of meaningful collaboration was continually raised as a significant lever to help organizations achieve high impact, a several-month study to understand best practices in “collaboration work” across the country was undertaken. This study included in-depth investigation of collaboration initiatives taken on by communities across the country and a North Texas focus group with leading organizations across a variety of sectors. In addition, a partnership with BoardSource and several other foundations was established to launch The Power of Possibility campaign and to support and learn from the work going on across the country.
In our focus group, we found that many local nonprofits would welcome the opportunity to explore collaborations but that resources to undertake the hard work of exploring collaboration were scarce and deemed risky to ask for due to limited resources, confidentiality, and a variety of other reasons.
Fortunately, several other regions across the country have already created funds dedicated to formal collaboration. Their positive experiences and ongoing feedback led a number of funding organizations in North Texas to come together to launch the Better Together Fund in June of 2017.
There is power in going beyond traditional organizational boundaries and doing together what we may not be able to do alone. The Better Together Fund exists to help bring this to bear.