Community Collaborations
A Critical Service

Enhancing a community’s social capital—the social networks, norms of reciprocity, mutual assistance, and societal values—is a worthy goal of many nonprofit organizations, community agencies, service and civic clubs, and municipal government. Meeting society’s needs often requires community partners to come together, forming collaborations with common goals to change something or make something better. Managing collaborations is one of the i team’s critical services.

Collaboration offers communities a tool to help them improve themselves by joining together in creative ways to tackle neighborhood concerns, such as recreation, housing, crime, poverty, and education.

Often a daunting task, creating, building, and managing comprehensive collaborations requires more than just willing parties; successful collaborative partnerships require guidance, counsel, and experienced direction. i team brings these offerings to the table.

The i team uses this definition of collaboration: a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals. The relationship includes a commitment to mutual relationships and objectives; a jointly developed structure and shared responsibilities; mutual authority and accountability for success; and sharing of resources and rewards.

The i team employs a general collaboration matrix consisting of twenty critical success factors, grouped into six categories:


  • History of collaboration
  • Legitimacy
  • Favorable climate

Membership Characteristics

  • Mutual respect, understanding and trust
  • Diversity of members
  • Collaboration seen as self-interest
  • Ability to compromise

Process and Structure

  • Members share a stake in the outcome
  • Multiple layers of participation
  • Flexibility
  • Clear roles & policies
  • Adaptability
  • Appropriate pace


  • Open and frequent communication
  • Informal relationships and communication links


  • Concrete, attainable goals and objectives
  • Shared vision
  • Unique purpose


  • Sufficient funds, staff, materials, and time
  • Skilled leadership and experienced counsel


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A Critical Service

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