The players in the grants world include not only donors and recipients, but also collaborators. A couple weeks ago, eCivis contributor David Rappoport wrote about how private, public, and nonprofit/social sectors are blurring and how partnerships among sectors are increasingly expected by grant makers to make funding stretch further.
It makes sense. In a down economy, partnerships can help ensure project/program sustainability. Local governments in particular can look to community-based nonprofits and businesses to help address social needs that the public sector cannot take on alone. Partnerships translate to a win-win-win strategy for collaborating agencies and organizations and their shared target communities. So, on this note, here are some reasons to partner and some examples to get the creative juices flowing:
- The social bridge. Nonprofit organizations are generally considered more “flexible” than government, positioned to connect with constituents and get them involved in initiatives. Consider these examples of state-local-nonprofit-business outreach campaigns for the Earned Income Tax Credit Program (EITC) to assist low-to-moderate-income households. In Pennsylvania, for instance, state legislators teamed with PathWaysPA (which covers five counties and connects with over 100 private and public partners), resulting in more than $3 million in total refunds, including more than $1 million in EITC refunds in 2010.
- Taxpayer dollars saved. Public affairs and charity expert Julian Wolpert has said that “through donations and efforts of volunteers, nonprofits reduce the financial burden on local government.” This makes intuitive sense, and it's a good reminder. And it’s not just nonprofit-public sector partnerships that can save taxpayer dollars: Take the partnership between Walgreens and hospitals to ensure that patients effectively manage their medications and don’t end up back in the hospital. This program could help save taxpayers significant money, as Medicare rehospitalizations result in federal penalties against hospitals that ultimately cost taxpayers $17.4 billion per year.
- Expanded grants reach. Partnerships with local nonprofits or businesses can allow a local government to become eligible for grant money it otherwise wouldn’t even consider. Take the City of Dublin, Ohio, which leveraged a partnership with the state and Wendy’s International to revitalize its city center and pay for a boulevard extension.
These three reasons for partnerships are not new, but the examples hopefully stir community-oriented creativity if you work in these sectors and have considered partnering with a community-based organization, business, or government agency. There are numerous incentives for partnering, not the least of which is utilizing taxpayer dollars and accessing more grant funding streams. (There are, of course, great reasons not to partner, and those will be addressed in a future blog post.)
Thriving communities make up our collective bottom line.
eCivis is the nation's leading grants management software solution and the ideal platform for improving grants performance for local governments and community-based organizations. For more information about eCivis, visit www.ecivis.com.
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