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Funding collaboratives

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Funders that work together on projects see the greatest success when they maintain flexibility and have the support of a regional grantmaking association, a new report says.

The report, “Local Donor Collaboration: Lessons from Baltimore and Beyond,” released by the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, presents case studies of four collaboratives connected to the association.

Flexibility is the main indicator of success, the study says, citing the importance of a willingness to change strategic plans, staffing requirements and decision-making processes.

A successful collaborative tends to have a supportive climate to work in, where funders are eager to work together to solve problems, the report says, and usually are timed around a unifying event or issue, such as a crisis, a particular need, or the convergence of funders’ interests.

Collaboratives also tend to have a champion, someone who provides the impetus to gather, brings definition to the purpose behind the funders’ group, and sometimes provides needed dollars.

Funding groups also benefit from the support of city-based grantmaking associations, or small regional ones, that often host the collaboratives and foster connections between grantmakers.

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