Friday Buzz: When Working Together Doesn’t Work

For organizations to collaborate successfully, they need to address a touchy subject: power imbalance. Also: An Oregon group teaches young students all about sheep shearing.

Associations often collaborate with other organizations to achieve important goals, but those initiatives can fail if an uncomfortable conversation doesn’t happen at the start of the partnership.

“Great collaborations between organizations achieve more than either organization could achieve by itself,” writes Jon Huggett in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “But when nonprofit collaborations don’t talk about power and address the implications of power imbalances openly, each party runs the risk of stumbling into (or contributing to) an ugly, counterproductive situation.”

Huggett identifies three types of power struggles where one entity feels the other is “bad,” “sad,” or “mad.” He also provides steps for a successful collaboration, including setting clear goals.

“Clear, concrete goals empower collaborators to make decisions on their own, whereas when goals are fuzzy, participants need to ask approval from those with power,” he writes.

Sheep-Shearing School

Online classes are great, but nothing beats hands-on training.

After working for years to secure funding, the Oregon Sheep Growers Association held its inaugural sheep-shearing school last week in Roseburg, Oregon, reports Capital Press. Over four days, high school students learned all the ins and outs of sheep shearing, including how to handle the sheep and manage the equipment.

The certificate conferred after course completion gives minors the go-ahead to work for hire with small flocks of sheep.

Other Links of Note

Get ready to speak on the radio. Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog shares tips for prepping for an interview in under 10 minutes.

Connect with major donors. The Nonprofit Marketing Blog reveals the best times to cultivate big givers.

Leaders are often called on to improvise, but how does one do that with ease? The Washington Post spoke with artists to unveil their process.

(artisteer/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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