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  • Writer's pictureThea Louise Dai

Effective Collaboration for Non-Profits: Key Elements, Skills, and Qualities for Success

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Project 17 is proud to share the work of Ssstart and The Humanitarian Clique, organizations that have collaborated to host Plain English Experimental Workshops for internally-displaced refugees in Syria. The following article is a guest post written by Jasmine Sethi of The Humanitarian Clique and Eva Schaefer of Ssstart.

Introduction: Are you a young individual passionate about making a difference and curious about how international non-profit organizations collaborate with each other? You're in the right place! This blog post will provide you with a clear understanding of the essential elements, skills, and qualities required for successful non-profit partnerships. By the end of this article, you'll have a better grasp of the attitudes and social network interactions that will help you thrive in the nonprofit world. Moreover, we'll inspire you to learn more about personal development, communication, professional networking, and mentorship opportunities.


Advocacy = Collaboration:

Ssstart is an organization in India that aims to focus on advocacy efforts amongst people with lived experiences of disabilities, and people with invisible disabilities. Its mission is to create a better everyday life for anyone who faces challenges during communication and help them to become more confident, empathetic, and patient human beings. Ssstart is on a mission to question the conventions that mechanize our existence. It is developing methodologies for new ways of communication that are simple yet effective, slow yet long-lasting, and professional yet playful.


The Humanitarian Clique is a Canadian research-based organization launched in the year 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Its mission is to offer an innovative and creative platform to researchers from around the world to initiate a conversation about social change. Its aim is to work in a digitally inclusive era and diverse community with a focus on delivering educational content. It is to measure the impact within the nonprofit sector pre- and post-COVID-19 era. It is to reimagine and bring social change to life through digital platforms. An innovative platform for self-expression through comprehensive research and writing process, increasing awareness of imperative social issues.


The organization’s founders connected through LinkedIn, an excellent professional network site that helps you connect with leaders from around the world. We then started having regular meetings with the management team and began strategizing projects as collaborative efforts at an international scale that would make an impact either in-person or E-impact. This article will present key elements of successful international nonprofit organization collaborations as practiced by both The Humanitarian Clique and Ssstart.


As a collaborative effort of both organizations, we are working collectively on advocacy efforts such as we are working on an E-Book release in spring/summer 2023 which is a part-series project. Our mission for the collaborative project is to understand how the utilization of plain English language and guidelines can be relevant to cross-cultural accessibility and inclusion, supports psychological safety leading to concrete actions, and how contributes better to human performance. It was conducted in part-series for internally displaced refugees, and the findings will conclude how Plain English Experimental Workshops have made an optimistically significant impact amongst the participants, respectively. It will also emphasize the powerful impact of technology in reaching out to marginalized communities in strengthening their conversational and academic English skills.

Shared Values and Purpose: Non-profit collaborations are most successful when organizations share common values and a sense of purpose. Make sure to establish these principles early on to create a strong foundation for your partnership. This alignment will help maintain focus and cohesion throughout the collaboration. Realistic and Specific Goals: Set realistic, specific, and measurable goals for your collaboration. Clearly outline each organization's role in achieving these objectives to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Remember to regularly evaluate your progress and adjust your strategies as needed. Clear Deadlines and Expectations: Establish clear deadlines and expectations for tasks and milestones. This will help keep everyone accountable and ensure that the collaboration runs smoothly. Don't forget to factor in time for feedback, revisions, and unforeseen challenges. Focus on Social Impact: Collaborations between non-profits should aim to maximize positive social impact. Assess how your partnership will contribute to this goal and identify ways to enhance the benefits of your collaborative efforts. Effective Communication: Strong communication skills are essential in any collaboration. Practice active listening, empathetic communication, and clear articulation of ideas. This will help build trust and understanding between all parties involved. High Level of Personal Responsibility and Reliability: Take responsibility for your role in the collaboration and be reliable in meeting your commitments. Demonstrate your dedication by being punctual, organized, and consistently following through on tasks. Networking and Social Media Engagement: Use social networks and online platforms to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations. Share ideas, resources, and best practices to foster a supportive and engaged community. Self-Awareness and Personal Development: Develop self-awareness to understand your strengths and areas for improvement. This will help you become a more effective collaborator and team player. Invest time in reading books and attending workshops on personal development, communication, and professional networking. Seek Professional Mentorship: Find experienced professionals who can guide you through the complexities of non-profit collaboration. A mentor can provide valuable insights, advice, and connections that can accelerate your growth and success in the sector. Conclusion: By understanding and embracing these essential elements, skills, and qualities, you'll be well-equipped for successful collaborations in the non-profit sector. Remember that continuous learning, self-improvement, and networking are crucial components of your journey. We hope this article has inspired you to further explore personal development, communication, professional networking, and mentorship opportunities. Together, we can make a greater impact on the world. Recommended Reading List Non-Profit Collaboration: • "Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed" by Michael D. Eisner and Aaron R. Cohen • "Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits" by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod • "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler • "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie • “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently" by John C. Maxwell Writing Professional Emails: • "Writing That Works: How to Communicate Effectively in Business" by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson • “E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide" by Janis Fisher Chan Professionalism in Online Meetings: • "The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership" by Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel • "Virtual Meetings: Set them up. Lead them well. Reach your goals” by Antoni Lacinai, Mike Darmell • “Make Virtual Meetings Matter: How to Turn Virtual Meetings from Status Updates to Remarkable Conversations” by Paul Axtell Identifying Purpose and Goals: • "Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action" by Simon Sinek • "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change" by Stephen R. Covey • “Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team" by Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker Time Management: • "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen • "Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time" by Brian Tracy • “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan Responsibility and Reliability: • "The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything" by Stephen M.R. Covey • "The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People" by Gary Chapman and Paul White • "Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win" by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin


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