City Funding, Communication Needed for Successful Collaboration

Nation's Cities Weekly, March 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

City Funding, Communication Needed for Successful Collaboration


Effective collaboration between a city government and a CBO does not occur spontaneously--it takes concerted effort and commitment on the part of both partners. The survey asked city officials and CBO staff to identify strategies that they have used in their collaborations, and to indicate how valuable certain strategies could be in making collaborations more effective.

The findings reiterate that city funding/resources and open channels of communication between partners are critical ingredients of successful collaborations. In addition, while only about half of all respondents have been involved in multi-program and multi-partner community revitalization initiatives, city officials and CBO staff overwhelmingly recognized this "systems-based" approach to poverty reduction and community revitalization as the most valuable collaboration strategy.

Most Frequently/Used Strategies

City officials and CBO staff were asked to identify strategies they have used to bring about more effective collaborations. Using city government funding or incentives for community-based activities was the most frequently mentioned collaboration strategy, cited by more than two-thirds (70%) of all respondents. Nevertheless, the city and CBO responses reflect different perceptions of how often city funding and incentives are used. Eighty-one percent of city officials said they make funding or incentives available for collaborative community-based activities, while only 66 percent of CBO respondents reported that they initiate these types of activities using city government funding or incentives.

Other common strategies cited by more than half of all respondents included: advocacy efforts to raise public awareness of issues and needs (57%); forums for increased communication between city government and CBOs (56%); and CBO consortiums working with city government (55%). Nearly half of all respondents also cited sharing best practices and adopting a comprehensive and strategic approach to poverty reduction and community revitalization (48% each) as strategies that their cities have used to bring about more effective collaborations.

For city governments as a group, the most frequently used collaboration strategies after government funding and incentives included: developing a forum for increased communication between city government and CBOs (68%) and working with a CBO consortium (55%). About half of city governments have adopted a comprehensive and strategic approach to poverty reduction and community revitalization (49%), and another half (48%) have involved the private sector in their collaborations. …

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