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National Council of Nonprofits

Over the last several months, Forum staff has been engaged in discussions with the staff at the National Council of Nonprofits (NCN) to discuss ways of promoting stronger relationships between regional associations (RAs) and nonprofits associations (NAs) at the state and local levels.   In order to encourage collaboration around policy and other programmatic areas and improve communication among organizations, we developed a state-by-state directory of both RAs and NAs. 

Below are some suggested ways that RAs and NAs can work together to strengthen both organizations:
  • Hold annual joint staff meetings
  • Partner on advocacy programs
  • Serve on each other’s public policy committees
  • Serve on each other’s boards of directors
  • Co-sponsor research to inform policy makers on the nonprofit sector
  • Hold joint annual conferences
  • Co-host forums for staff of nonprofits and foundations
  • Share information informally between leadership and staff
  • Convene to discuss shared policy concerns
  • Co-host training programs for nonprofits and workshops
  • Present at and/or attend each other’s annual conferences
  • Participate in joint networking groups
  • Share a staff member
  • Conduct joint surveys of nonprofits
  • Work together on pieces of legislation
  • Market each other’s events and programs
  • Co-host a “funders tour” of the state for foundation representatives
  • Work together to develop a policy agenda  

Spotlight Partnership

The Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) has a long standing relationship with the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF), so working together is ingrained in both organizations’ cultures. MNA and CMF collaborate in a variety of ways including informal information sharing between leadership, sharing board and public policy committee members, and, coming this fall, they are excited to be combining their annual conferences into one large joint conference. One employee of MNA explains, “We’re able to maintain a successful relationship because of the mutual respect we have for each other’s staff, an understanding and appreciation of our differences, and a friendship between our leaders.” In addition, MNA and CMF created a full time project coordinator position that is shared by both organizations and helps facilitate their work together.