Collaboration is much more than the sum of its parts

Arjun Bahadur

Collaboration has the potential to transform the effectiveness of philanthropy by bringing different skills and resources to bear on one problem. So how do you make it work?

The past decade has seen a substantial growth in collaboratives formed to solve chronic social challenges. A Bridgespan report on philanthropic collaborations mentions over $2 billion flowing annually to collaboratives for social, economic and environmental issues. The momentum evidenced in this recent surge signals greater potential for collaboratives in the future. This growth is also seen in India and the Life Skills Collaborative (LSC) is an example. The LSC is focused on championing life skills of India’s young people. It has brought together 18 organisations (funders, not-for-profits, for-profits) and four state governments and is working to solve three key challenges in the life skills space – building a common vocabulary for life skills, developing robust, scientific and contextual assessments and capturing the voices of India’s young people on their understanding of life skills.

A collaborative workshop with government and LSC experts in Mizoram state, India. Credit: Sattva

Our work at the Life Skills Collaborative suggests the potential for collaboratives to increase philanthropic impact in two key areas:

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