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The Importance of Nonprofit Partnerships in Doing Good Work

This is a contributor post from the new President of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman. He reflects on his previous work creating the Millennium Development Goals. 

An initiative of the UN, in cooperation with world leaders, the Millennium Development Goals are 8 definitive targets to improve human welfare. With a concrete deadline in 2015, these commitments have already yielded some impressive results since the program began in 2000.This progress was made by uniting a number of UN programs and international NGOs. These partnerships between organizations from different continents and cultures are an example of how independent nonprofit partnerships can be built.

This progress was made by uniting a number of UN programs and international NGOs. Suzman’s commentary illuminates the key aspects to succeeding in nonprofit partnerships and the importance they hold in creating long-standing change.

Smaller nonprofits can learn from the MDG partnerships to solve problems in their own community. When you build nonprofit partnerships, your organizations, sponsors, donors, volunteers, and audience unite in pursuit of a common goal.

Here are some of the strategies behind the UN Millennium Development Goals and the partnerships working to meet them. These are also useful for all organizations looking to work towards a common mission.

Measurable Goals

Because the human experience is so complex, it can be difficult to measure the good done by humanitarian organizations. One of the most innovative features of the Millennium Development Goals is that they turn ending poverty into measurable goals. We already knew that childhood mortality was a devastating problem in developing countries. The UN committed specifically to decrease the 1990 under-five mortality rate by two thirds by 2015. Choosing a destination makes it much easier to navigate the mission

Take a hard look at your mission, and your nonprofit’s capacity. Where do you feel your organization comes up short? Where can a partnership with another organization in the same sector help? Together, you can access your resources and come up with a realistic, measurable goal and communicate to your organization’s supporters how they play a part in reaching the partnership’s goals.

Deadlines

Deadlines get a bad rap. We stress about them, we complain about them, and we miss them sometimes. But the fact is, deadlines help manage time and motivate us to work toward our goals. Each of the organizations involved in the Millennium Development Goals has a long-term mission, but to focus and motivate the partners on specific goals, the UN set a deadline for 2015. They also set separate deadlines for certain goals, like their goal to achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010.

The UN, in cooperation with world leaders, created the Millennium Development Goals to improve human welfare across eight definitive targets. With a concrete deadline in 2015, these commitments have already yielded some impressive results since the program began in 2000.

Listen and Learn

Because the human experience is so complex, it can be difficult to measure the good done by humanitarian organizations. One of the most innovative features of the Millennium Development Goals is that they turn the general mission of ending poverty into measurable goals. We already knew that childhood mortality was a devastating problem in developing countries, but the UN committed specifically to decrease the 1990 under-five mortality rate by two thirds by 2015. Choosing a destination makes it much easier to navigate the mission.

Try taking a hard look at your mission, your capacity, where you feel your organization comes up short that a partnership with another organization in the same sector might fill. Together, you can assess your resources and come up with a realistic, measurable goal and communicate to your organization’s supporters how they play a part in reaching the partnership’s goals.


  • joe5150

    Awesome article!!!

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