As you know, I happen to work for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area (BGCCA). In my free time, I volunteer as an organizational development consultant for the Albany Gay Men's Chorus.
The Albany Gay Men's Chorus (AGMC) has been around Albany for about ten years, but only became a not-for-profit organization about two years ago. Aside from performances and building communities, the AGMC contribute the Albany community by donating a portion of its concert proceeds to charitable causes and not-for-profit organizations that impact the capital region positively.
I personally and professionally connect with both the organization's visions and missions. Serving at both organizations generated the possible idea of connecting them for multiple reasons.
1- For BGCCA to receive a donation from the AGMC.
2- Showcase BGCCA's efforts in being a more diverse and inclusive organization.
3- For AGMC to learn from a not-for-profit organization that existed for about 160 years.
After arranging a collaboration meeting with both organizations, both parties seemed very interested and enthusiastic about working together. Given the norm that most not-for-profit organizations receive donations and not give them out, BGCCA was a little surprised that a nonprofit organization is interested in donating to them. On the other hand, the AGMC was very happy that they would get some insights on how to grow their recently established nonprofit in areas like marketing, development, and operations. Besides the reasons mentioned above both teams started to connect organically and talk about possible future collaboration as they slowly realize that they could be assets to each other. BGCCA has an after-school music program that the AGMC could possibly be interested in supporting. AGMC thought about being more engaged and visible in the community by possibly volunteering for the club. In other words, the wheels were spinning!
Fast forward to the concert, BGCCA was able to have a table at the event to represent their organization to a new audience and showcase all of the great work they do. Also, they had the opportunity to collect donations other than the portion of the concert proceeds they were going to receive.
Reflecting on this experience makes me think about the infinite collaborative possibilities of nonprofit organizations are missing out every day. Sadly many nonprofit organizations view each other as competitors and not allies. While all nonprofit organizations have noble missions which they are working hard to achieve. I believe that community organizations, for-profit or not-for-profit are all a part of one organic echo system. If one organization grows, other organizations could grow with them. After all, these organizations exist to serve and better the communities we live in.
I hope to see more not-for-profit organizations collaborate together as they are an integral part of the fabric of our society. Even if these organizations don't serve the same audience; I believe it is time for everyone to look at the bigger picture and realize that money is not the only driver of growth.