With the introduction of United Way of Southern Nevada's 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, five organizational values have been identified to help shape our work. In a series of blog posts, United Way staff members share these values and what they mean to them. Our Coalition Manager, Takiyah Butler shares how one of those values, collaboration, helps shape the future of our community.
Our community has complex issues. Issues that cannot be solved by one individual organization, but by a collective joining of organizations working together to achieve a common goal. As one of United Way’s strategic values, collaboration means that we work together with stakeholders to achieve a shared community goal.
As the Coalition Manager at United Way, I help to bring organizations together to collaborate, bringing multiple skill-sets and different strengths together to achieve what no one organization can achieve alone.
Over the past four or five years, we’ve found that the only way to solve complex problems is to gain the commitment of a group of organizations from different sectors to a common agenda, using collective impact, a structured form of collaboration.
The process and product benefits of collaboration have been made clear: no one can solve the world’s problems alone and if we work together, we can have more impact.
No matter how cut and dry this might seem, numerous communities using this approach have struggled to see the value in “knocking down their silos” and doing things in groups.
This difficulty makes sense; groups can be messy. Data is sensitive. Money is tight. There are a million and one reasons why working with other people can be challenging.
Here’s one reason why collaboration is important: community means we’re in this together.
The power of collaboration is that no matter how hard we work to feed the homeless, improve high school graduation rates, or build the vocabulary of toddlers, our work towards the individual will not improve the wellbeing of a community.
Collaboration is the high school teacher who wants his students to go to college, but could get them there more easily if an admissions counselor from the local college or university could arrange campus visits or help with financial aid planning. Not only did we help a few students along, we built a connected culture between K-12 and Higher Education that helps build an expectation of progress.
Inspiring our community to embrace collaboration, sharing benefits and burdens, a common purpose and mutual authority is our shared commitment to build community. It’s not just about being the change you want to see. Collaboration works like a snowball: working together builds social safety nets that both catch us when we fall and propel us forward to opportunities we otherwise may not have been capable of reaching alone.
Working together through collaboration, we will build a better future for our community.
To help us inventory Southern Nevada Collaboration Factors, please complete this survey.