Collaboration vs. Competition in the Not for Profit Sector: Fostering Collective Impact



In the not-for-profit sector, organizations are driven by a common goal – to create positive change and address societal challenges. While competition is often seen as a natural aspect of any industry, the not-for-profit sector offers a unique opportunity for collaboration and collective impact.

This blog will delve into the significance of collaboration over competition in the not-for-profit sector, exploring how working together can lead to more effective outcomes and sustainable solutions.


Shifting Perspectives: From Competition to Collaboration

Traditionally, organisations have approached their work with a competitive mindset, vying for funding, resources, and public support. However, as challenges become more complex and interconnected, it has become increasingly evident that individual efforts alone cannot solve systemic issues effectively.


The Power of Collaboration

  • Leveraging Collective Expertise: By collaborating with other not-for-profits working towards similar goals or addressing related issues, organisations can tap into diverse expertise and knowledge.
  • Resource Sharing: Pooling resources such as grant funding, technology tools, gifted items, or even physical spaces allows not-for-profits to stretch their impact without duplicating efforts.
  • Amplifying Influence: Collaborative efforts create stronger advocacy platforms that can influence policy changes at higher levels.


Overcoming Fear & Building Trust

Competition often stems from fear – fear of losing funding or recognition, or fear of not meeting your intended impact goals – which hinders collaboration within the not-for-profit sector. Building trust among organisations is crucial for fostering successful collaborations; transparency and open communication are key in building these relationships.


Strategic Alliances & Partnerships

  • Identifying Common Goals: Organisations should seek partnerships where goals align to maximize impact.
  • Complementary Skillsets: Collaborating with partners who possess different skill-sets helps fill gaps within an organisation’s capabilities, and further the potential impact.
  • Learning Opportunities: Collaborations provide opportunities for learning from others’ experiences while sharing best practices.



Collaboration has emerged as an essential ingredient for achieving long-lasting and meaningful change within the not-for-profit sector. By shifting mindsets towards shared objectives rather than individual success stories alone, organisations can pool their resources effectively while maximising their collective potential to address complex social issues. Collaboration enables not-for-profits to leverage diverse expertise, share resources, amplify their influence, and ultimately make a greater impact on the communities they serve.


While healthy competition can still exist within the sector, it is critical for organisations to recognize the power of collaboration and actively seek out partnerships that align with their mission and goals. By overcoming fear and building trust among organisations, they can create strategic alliances that lead to innovative solutions and sustainable change.


While competition may be inherent in any industry, it is essential for not-for-profits in the not-for-profit sector to prioritise collaboration over competition. By embracing this mindset shift and fostering strategic partnerships, not-for-profits can achieve collective impact that goes beyond individual success stories – ultimately creating a better world for all.


How The Breakthrough Office can Assist

The Breakthrough Office was formed out of a recognition that we can use our skills in payroll, accounting, HR, and governance to partner with incredible organisations making meaningful change in their communities. We understand the challenges of opening your doors to collaboration, learning, and skill sharing, while also remaining focused on your core business functions.

If you would like to talk further about our service offering, or experience with collaboration, please contact us.

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