Nonprofit collaboration is probably something you hear about regularly. Funders, nonprofit councils, foundations, on-the-ground staff, and clients – all of these stakeholders generally encourage collaboration among agencies. Just a few weeks ago a nonprofit summit in Utah heavily emphasized the need for more collaboration.
Even before nonprofits began seeing funding pools dry up, collaboration was considered a good idea, if not best practice, in the social service field. Now that we see resources shrinking, while the demand for services continues to increase, the drive toward efficiency is increasingly important. A number of studies have shown that collaboration has a beneficial impact on organizations, resulting in fewer duplicated services, increased efficiency, and better outcomes.
As nonprofit agencies, we are having to deal with a changed economic landscape. Dwindling budgets have left us with the need to do more with less, to ask even more of our over-worked staffs, and to look for opportunities to move out of our silos and into a collaborative mindset where we work together with other agencies and entities.
Collaboration allows us to leverage our resources, to reduce both inefficiencies and duplication, as well as to share our strengths to effect the best possible outcomes for our clients. In addition to helping us more effectively achieve our mission, collaboration also has the added benefit of making our agency more attractive to many funders. Funders often emphasize collaborative partnerships because they are more likely to get a bigger return on their investment and they are less likely to be investing in duplicative services.
Data drives nearly everything we do as nonprofit agencies. We want more and better information whenever possible to help us drive intentionality in our agency and to ensure that we are providing the most useful services in the most effective way in order to maximize the benefits to our clients and to help them achieve their desired outcomes.
Keeping our focus on assessing what works and continually moving in the direction of optimal outcomes is critical to our mission and our viability as an agency. We can only strengthen our ability to identify our most effective practices when we share data with collaborative partners.
With shared data, all agencies involved in the collaborative process have more data that will enable them to fine tune their programs, increase effectiveness, and best serve their clients. Shared data can also act as a failsafe to make sure that there are no gaps in services that your clients need. Rather than assuming that needs are being met by other agencies in your community, you will have the complete picture in the form of your shared data.
Social Solutions has developed ETO Collaborate and Apricot nonprofit software specifically to help nonprofit agencies collaborate and share data with others in their community or field. ETO and Apricot bring together the information from diverse services, programs, and agencies and allows that data to be integrated into one place.
The ease of data sharing that ETO and Apricot allow can help your agencies, those you partner with, and your entire community see the value of what you are doing, understand the strategy of your interventions, and work toward optimization of service delivery for the most favorable outcomes for your clients.
Like all Social Solutions software options, ETO and Apricot are fully customizable. The customizable intake system along with service records for participant, family, and program assessments, 360° referral management, and a robust SAP BusinessObjects reporting engine add up to a comprehensive solution to your data sharing needs.
Our desire to know more in order to do better is the key behind data sharing. The more you can share, the more you can know. And the more you know, the more your clients will benefit from that knowledge. Rather than creating a new system, the key to improved results is often forging connections, both with other agencies and with their data.
Contact one of our solutions specialists for a demonstration on how ETO and Apricot can assist your agency and your collaborative partners in integrating effective data sharing into your agencies’ arsenal.