Shared Future, Shared Resources

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(Jason’s note: I’m sharing a piece that I co-wrote with two colleagues on the subject of collaboration with other Jewish organizations in response to the current economic crisis.)
by Jason Brzoska, Adam Gaynor and Becky Voorwinde

(cross-posted at eJewish Philanthropy)

The economic downturn and the Madoff scandal have escalated discussion in the Jewish communal world about collaboration. In fact, the recommendations of the just-released report The Innovation Ecosystem: Emergence of a New Jewish Landscape indicate that organizations want to and should be collaborating and sharing resources. The report says organizations should “collaborate and cooperate to reduce costs.†As organizations who are productively partnering with one another, we found that the initial time and effort put into building relationships between our organizations has truly paid off in saved time and money.

In nature, when resources are scarce, survival instincts kick in. In the Jewish organizational world today, funding, the lifeblood of not-for-profits, is limited. Strategic collaboration with like-minded organizations, while often beneficial in normal times, can be one of the most effective means of stretching our dollars in these lean economic years.

Strategic collaboration goes beyond personal catch-ups and coffee meetings; it is about identifying opportunities to share resources effectively. As small organizations, we can achieve ends beyond our own means through the sharing of both knowledge and infrastructure.

This past Fall, through informal networking, Rebecca Voorwinde, Director of Alumni Engagement for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI), and Adam Gaynor, Acting Executive Director of The Curriculum Initiative (TCI), learned they were both interested in investing in a new database platform. BYFI was able to identity the best platform to use through their initial research, while TCI did the legwork to identity the most knowledgeable and cost effective database consultant. In the end, both organizations saved time and money by choosing the same platform and same consultant.