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Decoding Collaboration Part 1: Can or should news collaboration be forced?

July 24, 2013 in Blog, Community

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Jo Ellen Green Kaiser

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser is the executive director of The Media Consortium. Green-Kaiser’s rich background includes a BA from Yale, a PhD from the University of California, with an impressive body of work across numerous independent magazines; she is a leading figure in Jewish media and an expert on the Jewish social justice movement.

Journalism Accelerator

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, who leads The Media Consortium, has been going deep on collaboration in her work. Here she generously offers a number of insights, with this the first of her three part series:

News Collaborations:
Part I: What do we mean by the word “collaboration”?
Part II: How does collaboration create impact?
Part III: How can collaborations shape the future of journalism?

With collaboration at the center of the JA’s work, we’ve followed Media Shift’s Collaboration Central work with interest.  As well as others who are monitoring new models of collaboration emerging across the news and information spectrum.  Civic engagement “table” development methodology is part of the DNA that inspired the JA’s cross network emphasis (“beyond the usual suspects”). Inspired by wildly successful state organizing efforts, collaboration in this instance fueled by a philanthropic community where funders worked in partnership to build infrastructure to deliver commonly held objectives, leveraging the existing capabilities of civic organizations already existing in the marketplace. Taking out all partisan attachment (progressives were the architects of this infrastructure) – the simple genius of this: How to deploy the power of civic good networks around common aims – respectful of unique missions – to deliver the combined capabilities of unique specialization already creating small scale impact in the marketplace? (i.e. content delivery, craft, community conduit, social, business, technology, product development, topical expertise, etc.) Last year about this time the JA was looking at the combination of revenue and sustainability related to collaboration. Taking this a step further, we’re revisiting this asking others where they see the greatest impact around networked collaboration. As well as asking, what are the barriers slowing progress?

In this post, Jo Ellen explores new working definitions of collaboration and opportunities to consider for deeper impact, leveraging collaboration to unleash the combined power of networks in more intentional and strategic ways. Read the rest of this entry →

Finding your funding model (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

February 8, 2012 in Resources, Revenue

In the spring 2007 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, we authored “How Nonprofits Get Really Big,” based on the Bridgespan Group’s research on nonprofits that had been founded since 1970 and reached $50 million in annual revenue. Only 144 nonprofits (excluding hospitals and universities) made the cut, reflecting the steep challenge of raising funds on a large scale…

In the spring 2009 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, we followed up with “Ten Nonprofit Funding Models,” which cataloged distinct types of funding strategies that exist among large nonprofits. We identified 10 nonprofit funding models, further confirming that the paths to growth are not idiosyncratic but strategic.

Since the publication of these two articles, Bridgespan and the Stanford Social Innovation Review have heard from a great many nonprofit leaders. The concept of the funding model—which we define as a methodical and institutionalized approach to building a reliable revenue base to support an organization’s core programs and services—clearly struck a chord. But many of the leaders wanted to know what practical guidance we could offer on how to identify and develop the right funding model. It is one thing to read that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is an extraordinarily successful example of the Heartfelt Connector funding model, which draws on a large grassroots individual donor base with a strong emotional tie to the issue. It’s quite another to figure out if the Heartfelt Connector is the right funding model for your own organization, and if so, how to pursue it.

This article is a response to those requests for the “how” of funding models—the basic principles through which organizations can understand and investigate their long-range funding options and then develop a realistic plan for choosing and implementing them. The principles are born out of our research as well as consulting experience with dozens of nonprofit clients that have sought pathways to growth and financial sustainability.” Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review