Better Together Fund launched on June 7, 2017 as a pilot program to drive large-scale social change by supporting nonprofits that come together in a formal collaboration, for a common purpose, as a way to maximize impact.
How we define FORMAL Collaboration
We see formal collaboration as a relationship between one nonprofit and another nonprofit, corporation or governmental agency that:
- changes the way participating organizations do business for the long-term
- has board involvement and endorsement
- preserves, expands or improves efficiency or services to constituents.
The idea of collaboration isn’t new – it’s what led the industry to the idea of “collective impact” where nonprofits convene and align around a topic.
What is new in Texas is pooling funder and nonprofit resources to accelerate change and deepen impact with an emphasis on FORMAL collaboration.
There’s an appetite for collaboration, however it’s not easy or free, it takes outside expertise, it requires a coalition of the willing, and it moves at the speed of trust. Most importantly, it needs a shared passion for driving big change in our community.
What we provide
Addressing all those barriers, Better Together Fund support goes well beyond funding.
1. Encouragement and thought partnership for nonprofit leaders to explore a range of formal collaborations with other nonprofits or key strategic partners focused on solving a big need with minimal overlap, including but not limited to:
- strategic alliances
- back-office consolidation
- long-term programmatic joint ventures
- strategic restructuring
2. A repository of tools, research and best practices that arm nonprofits with why and how to formally collaborate;
3. Grant funding from $3,000 to $600,000 to pay for costs associated with exploring, designing and/or implementing a formal collaboration. Grants cover staff, facilitator, consultant time and resources associated with feasibility assessment, planning, implementation and successful collaboration; and
4. Better Together Fund aims to stretch these grants by matchmaking grant seekers with pro-bono or reduced-rate facilitators, consultants and professional service providers.
Success for us looks like
1. Big ideas. Multiple organizations create significant impact doing together what they could not have done individually.
2. Efficiency. The region’s nonprofit sector is strengthened by aligning complementary strengths and resources.
3. Exploration only. We’re even excited by organizations that explore coming together formally and strategically elect not to. They’ll move on with a better understanding of the landscape and their unique roles.
4. The new norm. Conversations become more routine at the board and leadership level about considering formal collaboration as a way to solve problems and have more impact.