Thru all the articles about Principles for Digital Development, we have talked about sharing, collaboration and partnerships as one of the most important parts of the projects.
Collaboration is the main reason why organizations can develop, create better projects and make a bigger impact. I think that this is the main reason why nonprofits can do great things. Without help from other organization, they couldn’t implement projects in wide regions and gain volunteers and money for worldwide projects. So being collaborative and open to new opportunities is a way to achieve success. People working in a nonprofit organization around the world usually have a similar vision to create a better world. In this situation, collaboration is the easiest and the best way to bring plans into reality. We can produce the most amount of impact when we work together across different regions, cultures and borders to unite and achieve a common goal.
Collaborations also strengthen your skills, take the initiative more reliable, provide resources and experts/engagement in the project. But gathering all these sources take time. You can’t collaborate with anybody without any good planning, resources and research of possible partners. Collabs don’t make immediately and accidentally. Like other projects, collaborative needs proper earlier arrangements. If you find the best solutions and link with good partners which will be at the same level engage in the project – it will be great. But also on the other hand, it’s not easy to find good partners. Like often happens in the business it takes time…
Preparation to collaboration
If you want to know how to prepare work and all the team to collaboration take a look at these steps:
Understand how your work fits into the other organizations’ values. Search for other companies fighting for the same problem in other regions and find how eventually you could work together. Also, often bigger organizations have a list of projects, foundations which need help or looking for somebody to join them in a project. Find such a broker and ask for help in finding the best project buddy.
Create a plan where you can apply and use all your resources in a maximum way. Then you will know which skills you don’t have and what are necessary to lead a project. After organizing your strengths you will know which partners you need and for what type of help you can ask. Find organizations, people, companies affected by your initiative who should be engaged in all the project lifecycle or only in part of it.
Plan from the beginning. Create a whole collaboration starting from proposals, work plans, budgets and role description. Identify indicators to measure and monitor collaboration and to say something about its success or not. Analyzing barriers (internal or external) help you in reducing them in the future and prepare for eventual problems. Also, share documents with the community and your partners to develop the whole community. By taking part in conferences you engage and support others to take your steps and engage in collaborations.
Sharing and caring
Avoid competition, because rivalry isn’t your goal. Focus on sharing, openness and good values. Share ideas thru organizations and try to engage your own team to collaborate with each other internally and externally. Share tips, failures and thoughts to avoid making mistakes rather to going ahead. At each step summarize and be grateful to your team. That will motivate them to future work and show a progression that you did.
Gather feedback, opinion and support from others local, government and nonprofit organizations or communities. You can ask the audience what other powers will be important for future use or how they will change your vision to be better matched with requirements. Develop project or whole initiative in public so others are able to review and give feedback regularly. Also, you may find many digital friends which could help you or give advice in some cases.
That’s all and nothing at the same time. On Principles for Digital Development site, you find more tips which help you in taking collaboration into your team. Also, don’t think about collaboration as a compulsion. It’s a great opportunity for your team to develop, meet new people and learn new things.
The Lifecycle of “Be Collaborative”
To help you apply the “Reuse and Improve” Principle in your digital projects, the creators of the initiative provide a guide. You can find it here.
Principle: Be Collaborative is the last one from Digital Principles. It means that by reading all our articles you should know how to create for users and implement only useful tools, create with an understanding of the ecosystem and prepare for scale. Also, you know how to lead the project in digital style with good values and practices. You also know where you can find help and how to create projects built-in sustainability with driven data. You know that reuse and improve is better than new. And open-source programs and tools are really good and worth using. And in the end, you care about the security and privacy of users and collaborate with other organizations.
Read our other articles on the Principles for Digital Development!
Learn to use Digital Principles in practice:
Digital Principles Organizational Self-Assessment
Digital Principles Indicator Library
Digital Principle-Focused Evaluation
The Principles For Digital Development: Gold Practices