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Learn why you might want to enter into a sharing arrangement and when it makes sense to try to create a shared position or other resource.

 

  • Why share positions or other resources?

  • When should an organization consider a sharing arrangement?

  • Different types of sharing arrangements

  • Different types of resources that can be shared

  • How to create and manage a shared position or other resource

  • Common barriers to sharing, and how to address them

A community health clinic offers free counseling space to a domestic violence prevention program. A job training program offers services to participants in a community development agency in return for time for its participants with the other agency's housing counselor.A child protection agency lets a grassroots anti-child abuse initiative use its copier.

Sharing resources often makes it possible for organizations to provide services or fill needs it couldn't manage on its own. Just as organizations and initiatives take different forms, there are many different ways to share positions and resources. The basic goals of sharing, however, are almost always the same: to help the sharers gain access to positions, services, or goods that they couldn't afford on their own, to increase their capacities to fulfill their missions, and to advance their organizational goals. Cooperating or collaborating in this way can expand an organization's viewpoint and teach its staff new skills. But there are barriers to sharing positions and resources as well; and unless those barriers are recognized and overcome, sharing resources can turn out to be difficult, if not disastrous, for everyone involved.

How do you know whether you want to enter into a sharing arrangement with one or more other organizations? What might such an arrangement look like? How can you make an arrangement that benefits everyone involved? In this section, we'll discuss...

  • Why you might want to enter into a sharing arrangement.
  • When it makes sense to try to create a shared position or other resource.
  • The different shapes an arrangement of this sort might take, and what kinds of resources can be shared.
  • How to create and manage a shared position or other resource.
  • Barriers to the success of sharing arrangements, and how to overcome them

Why share positions or other resources?

There are a number of reasons for creating a shared position or other resource. While money is by far the most common and compelling, organizations may also desire to create better services or a stronger initiative, or may want to support other organizations for philosophical reasons. Merging the talents and purposes of two or more organizations through coordination, cooperation or collaboration, may lead to financial viability, better services, or positive changes in the community.

Money: Grassroots or community based organizations and initiatives are often underfunded at best, and sometimes downright strapped. They might need a position or service, want to provide a needed service to participants, or lack organizational essentials (clerical support, a copier, a phone system, even office supplies). Banding together is one way to meet those needs cheaply. One organization may be eligible for a grant that can be shared with another doing similar or related work. Organizations may be able to barter services, or to offer services to one another extremely cheaply. Whatever the arrangement, each partner gets something it finds valuable, and one or both is usually enabled to do or get something it couldn't otherwise afford.

Although money is certainly an important factor in the operation of grassroots and other non-profit organizations, be careful not to make it the most important factor. The question to keep asking is "How does this further the mission of the organization?" Often, an organization may apply for shared grants or jump at offers of shared positions without thinking carefully about how the particular funding or position fits into the philosophy and purpose of the organization. If a partnership doesn't mesh with what the organization is already doing or wants to do, it is likely to cause more trouble than any financial gain is worth.

Creating better services or a stronger initiative: Sometimes, an organization's larger vision can move it to participate in a sharing arrangement that may not benefit it financially. For example, several groups concerned with public health may coordinate their publicity campaigns, advocate for one another's issues, and provide volunteers to work on one another's initiatives. While their efforts may not have an immediate impact on any one group's finances, by sharing resources, they may call more attention to public health issues than any one of them could by itself.

Shared philosophy: An organization or initiative which supports particular social or political goals may want to share resources with other groups that feel similarly, in order to create more community support for those goals. By pooling resources, these groups may be able to have a larger voice in the community than if each spoke only for itself, and thus influence the thinking of the public in a more powerful way.

When should an organization consider a sharing arrangement?

Timing is important in almost everything an organization does, and sharing resources is no exception. The timing of a sharing arrangement often depends on external factors, but may also be driven by the immediate internal needs of the organization. Times when considering a shared position or other resource might be reasonable include...

  • When money or something else is available, especially when whatever is available specifically fits something you hoped to do anyway. Perhaps another organization or group knows of a grant it wants to apply for jointly, or has money it wants to spend on a service your organization wants to provide, or has space available to share in a community you want to serve. Some grants require collaboration; sometimes your organization or another only has the capacity or the desire to do part of what a grant calls for. If the arrangement makes sense, the time may be telling you something.

An adult literacy provider and an area sheltering organization had been struggling to find ways to get adult education services to shelter residents and the homeless population in general. When money became available for adult literacy for the homeless, the two wrote a successful proposal to deliver services to residents of the shelters. The collaboration lasted for three years, provided much-needed staff time and services for both organizations, and forged a connection that persisted long after the grant was gone. One result of the shared program was that one of the shelter residents eventually became a staff member of the literacy provider.

  • When there's an emergency or a deadline to deal with. If your new landlord has decided that your space will make a great condo, and your lease is up in two weeks, sharing space may look like a good idea. If funding for an important position has just been cut, you may want to try to keep the service going by negotiating a sharing arrangement with other organizations. If your copier has just died, and you have a big public event coming up, you might be grateful for the use of someone's equipment. Sharing is one way to cope with potential disaster.
  • When there's a particular need in the community that you and other organizations want to address. A sudden spike in AIDS deaths could be the spur for several organizations to band together to get information out as quickly as possible, through a shared community health educator or a street worker. An economic downturn might dramatize the fact that many individuals in several organizations' target populations lack the basic skills to get and keep a job, and might lead to a joint effort to provide adult education. What one organization can't do alone, several might be able to do easily.
  • When it seems that sharing resources is simply a good idea whose time has come, and a group comes together to explore the possibilities. A group of organizations in rural area of Massachusetts--including a battered women's shelter, a pregnant and parenting teens program, a community action agency, family planning, a community theater, an adult literacy provider, and an elder service agency--began meeting specifically to look for joint projects that would better serve the area and bring in needed cash for the agencies. Several collaborations grew out of these meetings, and, in addition, most of the organizations began working more closely with one another in other areas

Different types of sharing arrangements

Sharing can take a number of different forms... Each has its own advantages and drawbacks, and comes with its own set of ground rules.

Donations:

An organization--or a business, a town office, a church or synagogue, even a landlord -- might donate staff time, services, space, or equipment to you because it believes in what you're doing, wants to see what you do available to the community, or simply wants to perform a community service. Sometimes there are tax advantages to the donor. These donations generally fall under the heading of "In-Kind Support," and often involve a larger organization flat-out giving some non-money resource to a smaller non-profit organization: businesses may provide Board members; organizations may allow others free use of copiers, computers, and faxes, or donate furniture.

Bartering:

Two or more organizations may agree to trade resources. In return for a certain number of hours a week from your counselor, for instance, another organization could provide you with space, or a computer, or the services of one of its staff. It's a barter situation; no money is involved.

Problems can arise with this kind of arrangement when one organization feels it's being shortchanged, or that what it's getting isn't what it wants, or that it no longer needs the exchange. The other organization may then be left without something it's come to depend on.

Sharing of costs:

Two or more organizations might simply share equally the costs of renting space, hiring a staff person in a position they all need (a bookkeeper, for example), buying a piece of equipment, etc. The advantage here is that each party has to pay for only what it needs (e.g. 1/3 of a bookkeeper's time), thus reducing costs for everyone.

Under these circumstances, each would have equal rights to the resource, and there would need to be a very clear understanding about how it is divided. If someone feels they're not getting as much out of the arrangement as the other(s), the whole thing can fall apart.

Joint grants:

Two or more organizations apply for a grant to cooperate or collaborate in the delivery of a particular set of services to a particular population. Although very common, this can be the most complicated type of arrangement, because there are at least three different possibilities, depending upon the grant requirements and how the proposal is written:

  • The partners may spell out who does what, and simply share the money as specified.
  • One partner may be the "lead agency"--the one actually funded, and to whom the checks are issued, and may hire the other(s) to provide specific services under the grant. In this case, those providing the service get paid for work performed (as if they worked for the first organization itself), and the service is very specifically and narrowly defined.
  • One partner may be the lead agency, and may contract with the other(s) for specific services. A contractor gets a lump sum to perform services, and is responsible for how the services are delivered and how it spends the money.

The potential benefits here can be great, but the potential pitfalls are also huge, bigger than Florida sinkholes. The bottom line is that all partners are responsible both to one another and to the funder for using the money exactly as they said they would. If someone doesn't do the job, everyone involved could be hurt. Writing and managing a joint grant is discussed in more detail in the Appendix.

Different types of resources that can be shared

Whatever the resource, there's probably a way to share it to the mutual benefit of all the organizations involved.

People.

Staff might:

  • Be employed by one organization, but their services might be accessible through other organizations to a broad range of the target population. A day care provider, for instance, might apply for funding to hire a teacher specifically to provide child-care services for other organizations' participants while they attend their programs (job training, adult literacy, counseling, etc.) A counselor may be paid by a family planning agency to run support groups for pregnant and parenting teens from a high school in-school program, a public health clinic, and a welfare office. Volunteers for one organization might make phone calls or recruit participants for another.
  • Provide services to, and be employed by, two or more organizations. A street outreach worker might be paid by both a program for homeless teens and a substance abuse clinic to work with both populations, among whom there is often a good deal of overlap. Two or more organizations may pool their resources to hire full- or part-time clerical or bookkeeping support, computer help and technical assistance, counseling services, or medical care, which will then be shared among all. Several organizations may jointly hire a grantwriter, either to research and generate collaborative projects, or to work independently for each organization.
  • Provide services to participants of another organization in return for services provided by that organization to participants of theirs. A job counselor might help adult literacy students conduct job searches in return for literacy instruction for employment training participants. You can probably imagine any number of other exchanges like this: family planning and mental health counseling, public health and homeless services, etc.
  • Share training and professional development opportunities with staff from other organizations.

In any sharing arrangement involving people, make sure that the individuals who will actually be involved understand beforehand what the sharing entails, and how it will affect them and their jobs. They should have a hand in designing the shape of the concept, and they should be comfortable that the arrangement being proposed is actually workable for them, rather than saddling them with a job and a half. If they don't buy into the arrangement for whatever reason--they don't like the people in the partner organization, they don't want to do what the partnership will demand of them, etc.--the chances are that your arrangement is doomed before it starts. They need to be involved from the beginning, and their concerns need to be heard and addressed.

Space.

Organizations share space for economic reasons, of course, but beyond that are shared goals and philosophies, shared target populations, and the chance to share programs.

Some shared-space arrangements are just that: two or more groups use all of the same space at the same time, a difficult arrangement if the use of space is for direct service. A variation on this is one in which two or more organizations use the same space, but at different times. Yet a third shared-space possibility is that of dividing the space, not necessarily equally, among two or more organizations, which may or may not use the space at the same time. Any of these arrangements might be a joint rental, a sublet, or a donation on the part of the original renter or owner.

A literacy program rented--at a low rate--an office at one of its sites to a battered women's sheltering and advocacy group. Not only was there constant cross -referral, but each program had a profound effect on participants in the other. Many, particularly male, literacy students became far more sensitized to the issue of domestic violence; and many of the battered women realized the value of education, for both their independence and their self-esteem. In addition, the battered women's counselor became a full member of the community formed by the literacy program staff and students, taking part in program events and activities, and serving on a staff-student site management committee. The arrangement cemented an already good relationship between the two organizations, and made it easier for them to work together in creative ways.

The ultimate shared-space arrangement is one in which two or more groups jointly buy a building to house themselves, and perhaps several others as well, under one roof. The advantages of this situation include locking in rent (i.e. mortgage payments) for as long as twenty years; generating income (perhaps enough for mortgage and upkeep) from renting out the unused part of the building; and creating a center for organizations with similar goals serving similar populations.

Equipment.

Equipment may include office paraphernalia such as copiers, faxes, phone systems, computers, etc., as well as other equipment needed for specific types of organizations. Sharing arrangements could take place among those sharing space as well, or could mean one organization's staff coming to another site to use equipment there. Common ways to share equipment are joint purchase (which can mean everyone pays an equal amount, or that everyone pays a proportion geared to how much they expect to use the equipment), or one organization paying another a fee or offering services in exchange for use of equipment.

Other things that can be shared

 Include mailing lists, conference facilities, referral networks, resource libraries, newsletters, information (grant availability, for example), computer listservs, and supplies (for instance, joint buying for cheaper rates.)

How to create and manage a shared position or other resource

We've seen several different ways to share resources, most of them involving resources that already exist in one way or another. So how do you become part of a sharing arrangement? A good arrangement is like a marriage: someone has to suggest it, if it's going to happen; it needs constant attention; and both parties have to be committed to making it work.

Here are some tips on how to make a sharing arrangement work.

  • You have to make it happen. Operate on the assumption that an offer to share resources is not going to fall into your lap. The first step is to clarify what you really need, and then to determine whether a sharing arrangement, and if so what kind, is in fact a good way to meet the need. If you think some sort of sharing arrangement is a possible solution to a financial or service problem you're having, then it's your job to come up with a preliminary suggestion or offer, and find potential partners to discuss it with.
  • Find partners you can get along with. Look for organizations that you know are compatible with yours, that share philosophy, purpose, and world view. Seek them out, make contact, and maintain it whether or not you think there are sharing opportunities available. You'll all do your work better if you're talking to and supporting one another; and if sharing opportunities do arise, you'll be part of an already-formed group that you know you can work with.
  • Be honest and clear about what you're proposing. If your proposed arrangement is truly mutually beneficial (and it's ideal if you can come up with something that is), then present it that way. If in fact, you're asking for a favor, be straightforward about that, and about why you think it should be granted ("This is good for the community, and particularly good for the people you serve.") Be willing to offer something in return in the future if it's possible.
  • Don't assume that a refusal is the end of the idea. Have backup partners or alternative ideas in mind, in case the first organization you approach isn't willing or able to share resources with you. If you don't have a good idea for a backup-- or perhaps even if you do--you might ask that first organization for ideas. It would also be reasonable to ask your contacts in the community about who might be interested in your plan, or might have the resources to work with you. Some organization you ask might itself be willing; if not, people are sure to have ideas, and everyone will know what you're looking for.
  • Draft a written agreement. Once you've found a partner, work out the terms of the arrangement carefully and clearly, so all involved know what they're offering and getting in return, and who's responsible for what. Then draft a written agreement, making it as specific as possible, so there won't be any misunderstanding about any part of the arrangement.

The written agreement may include a timeline (how long the arrangement will continue, at least initially), with an evaluation period built in (During the first 90 days, either party can back out if it doesn't seem to be working or to be meeting their needs.) You may also want to include an escape clause ("Either partner may terminate the agreement on 30 days' notice. The agreement may be terminated immediately if the following situation arises...") It sounds like a lot of legal mumbling, but a good agreement that spells out exactly what the arrangement is about can save a whole lot of grief.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Once an agreement is in place and a sharing arrangement begins, communication becomes the key to making and keeping it successful. If a position is involved, then supervisors need to be in regular contact with one another and with the person in that position. If a joint program is being run, there has to be regular discussion about how it is going from all points of view. If space is involved, any minor irritations or problems need to be dealt with while they're still minor.

Any arrangement should have built into it through the written agreement regular, scheduled communication among the appropriate people, and everyone should take that communication seriously. Be honest, even when it hurts, and be willing to acknowledge difficulties and work to eliminate them. If you keep talking, your arrangement will probably work out fine. If you don't, you're almost undoubtedly going to have a tough time.

  • Keep reevaluating the arrangement. As part of your regular communication, look closely at what you're doing and how well it's working. Don't be afraid to suggest changes that you think will improve it, and encourage your partner(s) to do the same. If you want the arrangement to keep working, you have to keep working to make that happen.

Common barriers to sharing, and how to address them before they wreck your partnership

There are a number of reasons that a sharing arrangement or collaboration can go wrong. The best way to deal with these issues is to anticipate them, and thereby prevent them from becoming problems in the first place.

  • Turf issues. These are by far the most common barriers to successful partnership. Turf issues arise when an organization sees the possibility of another stepping on its "turf," i.e. performing (and getting paid for) services or activity that the first organization sees as its own province. These issues are sticky because they most often involve funding, philosophy, or ego.
    • Especially when funds are scarce, organizations can get threatened and angry when money they see as "rightfully theirs" goes to another organization. They may see the situation -- sometimes rightly -- as threatening their very existence.
    • Organizations may have strongly held philosophical or social biases. They may disagree -- philosophically, politically, or even ethically -- with approaches to an issue, a population, or the provision of services. If the two are trying to cover the same area, one or both may see their overlap as a life-or-death struggle, or one of good vs. evil.
    • The "ego" of an organization may be tied up in its being seen -- by the public, by funders, by other organizations -- as a leader, and thus wanting to be the lead agency, or first among equals in a partnership. If the organization is striving for legitimacy, it can be particularly sensitive to this issue.

Turf issues can best be addressed by facing them head-on when the partnership is being formed. If there is agreement at the beginning on the following points, and if they are regularly revisited during the course of the partnership, you can probably keep the dragons away.

Each organization should think beforehand about its compatibility with other organizations in a proposed partnership. Choose your partners carefully, with an eye toward philosophical and political compatibility.

Try to plan for the good of the collaboration as a whole.Then it's likely that everyone will see the result as good for their organization.

Keep the real purpose in mind. What is the goal of the partnership? Who will ultimately benefit? Why are you doing this in the first place? Try to remember this is a collaboration, not a contest. If there really is a common goal, then there ought to be a way to work together to accomplish it.

Be prepared to compromise, so that all partners can get as much of what they need as possible.

Again, draft a written agreement that lays out clearly the relationship among the partners, so that everyone has a clear understanding of it.

  • Lack of communication. If the parties to an agreement don't communicate adequately, it is almost inevitable that they'll run into problems. This is why it's so important not only to set up a workable communication system, but to specify how it's going to be used. There should be clear agreement about the type and frequency of communication, and each partner should hold itself and others to the agreement.
  • Non-performance. Nothing can destroy a collaboration more quickly than one partner failing to fulfill its part of the agreement. This may mean anything from not putting paper in the jointly-owned copier to not providing the service called for in a contract. There is no way to be absolutely certain beforehand that a partner will do what it's said it will, but...

Think carefully about whom you partner with. What's the organization's reputation--Has it been involved in partnerships before? Can you talk with its former partners?  If it's been a successful partner before, if it's known as an effective and reliable organization, the chances are it will continue to be so.

Make sure your written agreement or contract contains clear explanations of what happens if a party doesn't fulfill its obligations. The circumstances under which the contract can be broken, what the penalties are if work isn't done, deadlines if necessary -- all should be written into the contract and observed.

Address problems the instant they become apparent. If there seems to be a problem with an organization's performance, don't wait to see if it gets better. Call attention to it instantly. Although the first approach to the issue should be supportive ("You seem to be having trouble getting your part of the contract done. What can we do to make it happen?"), it should be direct and specific. If there are things other partners can do to help, or are not doing that are contributing to the problem, then those should be addressed and/or corrected as well. But the final result should be nipping the problem in the bud. If the situation doesn't change, the escape clauses and penalties in the written agreement need to be brought into play.

In Summary

Sharing positions and resources can be an effective and creative way of providing services or fostering an initiative when funding is tight, or when collaboration makes more sense than going it alone. Partnership isn't always easy, however, and success in sharing takes work and forethought.

  • Think carefully about what you need, and about whether or why a sharing arrangement would meet your need.
  • Remember that, although money may be a major reason for a sharing arrangement, it should never be the only reason, and that whatever arrangement you make should further your mission and fit into what you're already doing.
  • Always think carefully about who the natural partners in a sharing arrangement would be, and about whether you share enough of a practical and philosophical base to work together successfully. If there's outside funding involved, be sure that the philosophy and standards of the funder and those of the partners are compatible.
  • Work out who will be responsible for what and to whom, how communication will work, and other specifics of the arrangement before you ever enter into an agreement or begin to write a proposal. Make sure that all individuals involved in the actual sharing arrangement have discussed the conception and agreed both to the arrangement and to their roles and responsibilities in it.
  • Be sure that your conception is clear and practical--i.e. that it can be carried out--, and that you have, under the arrangement, the resources and commitment to make it work.
  • Draft a written agreement that spells out both the general outlines and the specifics of the arrangement, and stick to it.

If the formation of a partnership is careful, and includes everyone involved, there is every reason to assume that it will be successful and benefit everyone. Partnerships can make all the organizations involved, as well as the communities they serve, stronger, as long as they are based on shared goals, mutual respect and honesty, and ongoing communication.

Appendix: Writing and managing a joint grant

Writing and managing a joint grant is a special kind of collaboration. Money--sometimes lots of money--is involved; turf battles can erupt; complications can arise. On the other hand, joint grants can be an enormous boon to all the organizations involved. This Appendix will help you decide whether or not a joint grant is the right thing for your organization, and will walk you through the process of writing and managing the grant.

  • Starting out. The spur might simply be the availability of funds: an organization may find a Request For Proposals from a public or private source that either asks for a collaboration or requires a range of service or activity that the organization can't provide by itself. The motivation might also come before the money, from a community need that several organizations recognize; from a philosophical bias toward collaboration as a better way to get things done in the community; or from a perception that the best chance for funding a program is by showing that it covers a number of different areas and crosses organizational boundaries. Here, organizations may first develop an idea, and then search for funding for it. Whatever the reason, the process almost always starts with a single organization suggesting a joint process to one or more others.

  • Making sure a joint grant makes sense. As a first step in any successful joint grant process, the organization needs to look at the implications of such a grant for everyone involved, and discuss internally exactly what it might mean. Will people have to take on extra, or different work? Everyone has to know, or at least have a good idea, what his personal responsibilities will be under this arrangement, and agree that those responsibilities are worth it. Most important, everyone involved needs to agree that...

    • The grant will meet a real need.
    • The grant activity will be consistent with the organization's philosophy and mission, will fit in with what it's already doing, or will allow it to do something it's already considered (i.e., that the grant process is program-driven, not just money-driven)
    • The organization can work with partners, and specifically with the partners it would have under the proposed arrangement

This process needs to happen in every organization that is party to the grant.

  • Planning the program. Once a partnership has been formed, all the partners, down to the staff or volunteer level at which the position or other resource will operate, should be involved in planning how the program will work. That way, they can ensure that everyone's needs, both programmatic and financial, are taken into consideration, and that--and this is vital--the grant is written so that all partners receive enough money from it to pay for their parts of the arrangement. By the same token, the actual work should be planned so that...
    • It conforms to the philosophical and other standards of both the funder and all partners
    • It is actually achievable, for both the organizations and the individuals involved
    • It meets the real needs that motivated the partnership in the first place

It is important that all the organizations and individuals who will be affected by the grant activity be involved from the beginning in its conception and planning. Not only will such participation build a better program, but it will also mean that everyone involved in the grant will they feel responsible for it, and consider it theirs. If they own the program, if they feel that they developed and nurtured it, then they will be enthusiastic about it and do their best to make it work

  • Writing the grant. Part of the planning process includes deciding who will write the proposal. The writing could be collaborative--people from different organizations could be responsible for different parts of it, for instance, or it could be done by someone from one organization with proposal-writing expertise. Whatever the situation, the responsibilities should be clear and worked out beforehand, so that everyone knows what his role is. Grants have deadlines, and it's important that each partner understands what it has agreed to do, and when.
  • Grant Management: the Lead agency. Virtually all public, and most private, funding sources, deal with only one agency in a funding situation. In a multi-organization arrangement, this is the lead agency, the one that actually submits the proposal in its name; receives, distributes, and keeps records of the money; and is legally responsible to the funder. Which organization is to be the lead agency may be determined by who came up with the idea, may hinge on who has the necessary qualifications, or may be specified by the Request For Proposals.

The lead agency usually needs to hold state and federal tax-exempt certificates, and may have to fulfill other requirements as well. Its responsibilities often include writing the proposal (perhaps with help from collaborators), fiscal oversight, supervision of the shared position or resource, coordinating communication, and keeping financial and program records to report to the funder. The lead agency is dependent upon its partners to provide it--on time--with the services and information it needs to fulfill the conditions of the grant.

Other partners' obligations might include helping to write the proposal, supervising their involved staff, keeping their own financial and program records that can be passed on to the lead agency, participating in necessary communication, etc. All partners need to take their obligations seriously; the whole partnership can be hurt -- financially and otherwise -- by the failure of one to perform its contractual duties or to provide paperwork or funds when they are needed.

Again, it's tremendously important that all of these responsibilities -- from the planning to the evaluation of the program after it's over -- are thrashed out in the course of putting the collaboration together, and again after the grant is received, so that there are no surprises or disagreements about them later. Specifics include...

  • The exact nature of the service that each organization will provide to the community and/or to other partners.
  • The fiscal guidelines for everyone.
  • Who gets paid how much by whom and how and when and for what.
  • The details of communication among partner organizations and individuals.
  • Who reports to whom.
  • Exact deadlines for getting financial or other reports or information to the lead agency so it can report on time to the funder.
  • The wording of contracts or other written agreements.

The more everyone knows and agrees to, the smoother a joint grant process is likely to be.

You may need to decide whether to share the resources of the grant (one organization paying the full salary of a staff member who will do work for everyone in the partnership, for instance), or to distribute them through contracts. A contract is a legal document in which one party agrees to pay another a certain sum of money in return for certain services or products. In the case of a contract under a joint grant, the lead agency hires a contractor--a collaborating organization--to perform some or all of the work required by the grant. Payment goes in lump sums directly from the lead agency to the contracting organization, which distributes it in whatever way necessary to carry out the work specified in the contract. In some cases, the funder requires that all the contractor's expenses be laid out, item by item; in others, the only thing appearing on a financial report will be the lump sums paid to the contractor by the lead agency. Whether this is the best arrangement for a particular collaboration really depends on the needs of the partners, the nature of the work to be done, and the requirements of the funder.

Online Resources

National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) (1999).

NAEIR charges a membership fee, issues catalogues of equipment and goods discarded, remaindered, clearanced, etc. by business and industry. Members, which must be nonprofit organizations, can order an unlimited amount per year (average organization gets about $2,000 worth of stuff for approximately a $500 investment) for the cost of shipping. If you pick it up in Galesburg, it's totally free. Possibilities range from high-end computers and other office equipment to industrial machinery to clothing, school supplies, and furniture. It's only worth it if you need a lot: a good bet for several organizations to go in together, with one being the member and sharing the catalogues with the others. Many members are school districts, United Ways, etc., although many are also smaller organizations. Contact information: 560 McClure St., Galesburg, IL 61401. Tel. (800) 562-0955. Fax (309) 343-0862.

Kluge, Debra (1999). Proposal Writing and Government Contracting.