Categories Podcast Webinar

Collaborate to Innovate: Unlocking Success in Nonprofit Partnerships

The Nonprofit Exchange Podcast – Collaborate to Innovate: Unlocking Success in Nonprofit Partnerships with guest Michelle Shumate.

Michelle Shumate is the founder and owner of Social Impact Network Consulting (SINC). Through SINC, she helps social impact leaders find nuanced solutions through coaching and consulting. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Networks for Social Impact (Oxford University Press). Her work has been featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Nonprofit Quarterly, and Youth Today. Michelle is the founding director of Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact (NNSI), the Delaney Family University Research Professor, and Associate Faculty at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

Sustained Collaboration is a powerful strategic tool for nonprofit leaders to build resilience and increase their social impact. I’d like nonprofit leaders and clergy to: 1. Learn about the types of sustained collaboration available, including mergers, asset transfers, shared service arrangements, shared projects, and alliances. 2. Consider these types of collaborations as strategic tools to (a) embark on a strategic transformation, (b) establish new programs or improve and expand existing programs, (c) develop new efficiencies through shared assets, (d) create policy wins, (e) encourage innovation, and (f) produce better quality outcomes for clients and the community.

Watch the interview at:


Categories Webinar

Beyond Funding: How Grantmakers Are Advancing Nonprofit Collaboration

Michelle Shumate, Professor at Northwestern University and founder of Social Impact Network Consulting, presents key findings from her latest report, Nurturing Nonprofit Collaborations, and explores actionable strategies that grantmakers are using to encourage and support collaboration among their nonprofit partners.

She’s joined by an incredible panel, including Sara Straubel from the Ahmanson Foundation, Regan Gruber Moffitt from St. David’s Foundation, Karen LaShelle from Austin Together, and Carrie Harlow from the Nonprofit Sustainability Fund. The panel shares rich field insights and explores their direct experiences supporting nonprofit collaboration.

Categories News

Collaboration Consultant Community of Practice


The SCN Collaboration Consultant Community of Practice is a learning community of practitioners in the nonprofit sector who focus on supporting nonprofits in strategy and collaboration. This Community of Practice was created by peer consultants to meet the demand for learning, for leadership, for connection, for best practice development, and developing continued expertise into this burgeoning area of practice nationally.

Sustained collaboration is a critical, strategic, strengths-based tool for nonprofit leaders. The community of practice provides a valuable resource for identifying neutral, third-party facilitators. As such, this community is then also an opportunity source for consultants to collaborate and meet the needs of nonprofit clients.

Interested in becoming a member or visitor of this community, more information here.

Who should become a member?

The Community of Practice is for consultants who engage in facilitating nonprofit collaboration.

How to become a member?

Visit Collaboration Consultant Community of Practice (, to sign up and complete a member profile.

Categories Event

The Sustained Collaboration Network Conference 2022


The Sustained Collaboration Network’s 2022 Conference will bring funders together from across the country to connect on the importance of sustained collaboration as a meaningful form of nonprofit capacity building. Attendees will have opportunities to learn more about funder shared practices, celebrate field-building successes, and chart a path forward together as a community of practice. Join us to deepen relationships with one another, and to hear stories directly from practitioners in the field.

You do not need to be a member of the Network to attend.


Sustained Collaboration Network’s 2022 Conference will be in person in Scottsdale, Arizona. Thursday, October 27th through Friday, October 28th, the Conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch.

SCN Conference at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale
October 26th – Pre-Conference for Initiative Managers only (at Sonesta)
Day 1: October 27th – 12:00pm-8:00pm
Day 2*: October 28th – 8:00am-1:30pm
*virtual participation option available

Detailed Conference Agenda


For more event details and to register for the 2022 Conference visit:

If you are unable to attend in person, but would like to participate virtually (Day 2), please register on Eventbrite using the ‘virtual registration only’ option.

Categories Event

The Sustained Collaboration Network Training Institute


The new Sustained Collaboration Network (SCN)—a network of 7+ local pooled funds supporting greater collaboration among nonprofits—is hosting a first-ever online institute for consultants engaged in this work. The SCN Institute will feature prominent speakers and trainers who have deep knowledge and direct experience with this work, whether as funders, nonprofits, lawyers, accountants, etc.


At a time of growing interest in the value of nonprofit sustained collaborations, identifying and growing the national pool of qualified consultants to responsibly guide them through this vital—yet sensitive—work is essential. The goals of the SCN Institute are to: build consultants’ capacity for this work; begin to create some standards of practice for this field; and create an environment for peer learning and networking opportunities.


The Institute targets consultants already engaged in this work in some capacity, who want to build their knowledge, networks, and skills in this area. A brief application is required and consultants must be selected to participate.


The SCN Institute will be comprised of a series of 6 learning sessions in January-February 2021. It will be held online and will be recorded for asynchronous learning, but live participation is highly encouraged as the sessions will be interactive.


Register for the six-session institute here: Upon completion, you will receive a “certification of participation” and will be placed in preferred status among the SCN initiatives across the country.

Categories Webinar

How to Find Your Perfect 10: Finding the Right Collaborator for your Organization

Part 1

Part 2

Event Description:

Kelly Fryer provides detail and content on the subject of collaborator identification and selection. Kelly has 25+ years of experience as a nonprofit executive, small business owner and former minister. She founded Kelly Fryer & Associates, LLC to help mission-driven leaders and organizations do what’s next. Kelly teaches courses in innovation and social entrepreneurship in the UArizona Eller College of Management, is a Flinn-Brown fellow and former candidate for Arizona governor.

Categories Webinar

Envision Consulting’s “The Truth About Strategic Partnerships” Webinar

Event Description:

Carrie Harlow, Initiative Manager of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, participated in Envision Consulting’s “The Truth About Strategic Partnerships” webinar on July 15, 2020

In this session we deep dive on the topic of strategic partnerships, including when to consider strategic restructuring, how to assess your organization’s readiness, and the first steps for getting started.

Categories Webinar

Center for Nonprofit Management’s “Strategic Restructuring” Webinar

Event Description:

Carrie Harlow, Initiative Manager of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, participated in the Center for Nonprofit Management’s “Strategic Restructuring” webinar on August 7, 2020.

Learn what the strategic restructuring process looks like, how to know if it may benefit your organization, and how to seek funding for it. Hear about some of the 240+ organizations who have engaged in Strategic Restructuring here in Los Angeles since the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative was launched in 2012, and begin to consider how you may identify a partner for your own Strategic Restructuring negotiation.

Categories Webinar

BoardSource’s “Mergers and Dissolutions” Webinar

Event Description:

Nadya K. Shmavonian, Director of the Greater Philadelphia Nonprofit Repositioning Fund, was a panelist in BoardSource’s “Mergers and Dissolutions” webinar on April 28, 2020.

As we end April and begin another month of navigating through the COVID crisis, many nonprofit leaders have seen the need to take decisive — and often difficult — actions in response to how financial and programmatic realities have impacted their organizations. This session will discuss the issues that we are hearing from the sector as organizations contemplate strategic partnerships, restructuring, organizational mergers and dissolution.

Categories Relevant Publications

How to Save a Nonprofit: The Care Steps Required in Mergers and Acquisitions

Nonprofits typically pursue mergers and acquisitions to broaden the range or improve the quality of services. Some nonprofits pursue mergers and acquisitions to stave off financial duress or to benefit from the stronger operational controls of a larger acquiring nonprofit.

Read full story here:

Categories Relevant Publications

Possibility and Scale: The Merger of Race Forward and CSI

Two leading racial justice organizations in the U.S., Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), are merging. While there are many reasons for the two organizations to join forces, Rinku Sen, Senior Strategist of Race Forward, told NPQ in an interview this week about the transition, “The urgency of the moment is real, and it overshadows everything else. We’re facing the worst attack on our people in 50-60 years. I don’t think we’ve gotten to the worst of it. We’re going to have to put everything we’ve got to use to face the threat that is coming—not a dollar, not a brain cell, not a unit of human energy should be wasted.”

Read full story here:

Categories Relevant Publications

Curating Change: The Merger of Two Historic Women’s Organizations

This case study looks at the factors that led up to the decision of the International Museum of Women (IMOW) to merge with the Global Fund for Women (GFW) in March of 2014. While we reached out to previous IMOW staff—now at GFW—for a firsthand account of the events that led to the merger, we were unsuccessful and had to rely upon secondary information for evaluating the two organizations’ financial and strategic decision to merge their staffs, boards of directors, and operations under one shared mission.

Read full story here:

Categories Relevant Publications

The Stigma Against Fiscal Sponsorship Needs To End

One of the common complaints lobbed against the nonprofit sector is that we have too many nonprofits competing for resources. So when someone suggests that they might possibly be thinking of maybe starting their own nonprofit, the response from many of us is often “Get the torches and pitchforks!” Then we chase after them, flinging rocks and hummus, until they and their ridiculous ideas of founding a nonprofit are driven out of our village.

Read full story here:

Categories Relevant Publications

Better Together Fund Backs Collaborative Nonprofits

The Dallas Foundation, Lyda Hill Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas are collaborating on a first-of-its kind funding concept in North Texas to provide a variety of resources to participating nonprofits. The fund hopes to award $2 to 3 million in its first few years.

Read full story here:

Categories Relevant Publications

Interest in Nonprofit Mergers and Partnerships Unexpectedly High, Study Suggests

Between Friends, a Chicago nonprofit whose mission is to prevent domestic violence, recently merged with a smaller organization that supports survivors of domestic violence. The move allows Between Friends to expand its programming and opens up new possibilities for raising money from individuals. Here, the group’s Light Up the Lakefront event honors victims of abuse.

Read full story: