In the nonprofit sector there are various forms of collaboration, ranging in formality, actors and purposes. Some of the most common types of collaboration include networks, coalitions, movements, strategic alliances, strategic co-funding, public private partnerships and collective impact initiatives. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate among them and know which might be the best fit for certain situations. This piece defines these forms and offers guidance for grantmakers on when to use each, along with examples and considerations.
While not an exhaustive list, the following table breaks down some of the most common forms of collaboration in the nonprofit sector and provides guidance on when to use it, examples and considerations. It is important to note that these types of collaboration are not mutually exclusive — a collaborative effort may include two or more types at once. Also, each of these entails some level of formality, although the degree of formality varies. Usually, less formal collaborations, partnerships and/or intentional relationship building are important precursors to more sustained forms of collaboration to build a baseline of trust and common understanding.