Director’s Notes: Why Collaborate?

Director’s Notes: Why Collaborate?

Jill Ryan,Executive Director

In this issue I’ve noticed that even the articles that don’t focus on collaboration have an underlying theme of how collaboration helped move the work forward. Freshwater Future places a high value on working together to find common ground, which is one of the reasons the organization was designed eighteen years ago to support the work of other groups and bring those separate voices together to make a collective impact.

While your organizational goals might be focused on environmental issues, not specifically on ensuring collaboration along the way, I am willing to bet many of you have developed critical collaborative relationships with organizations with similar missions. By learning from each other, working together where you have common goals and realizing the benefits of more voices in the chorus, you have no doubt realized the benefits of taking the time to understand others working on your issue.

Because collaboration also requires investing time into your relationships with collaborators, I want to share some of the benefits of collaboration that may not be as top of mind as we consider new relationships. First, by bringing more ideas into our discussions we can develop better solutions; second, by engaging more people and groups in the decision making process, we can create longer lasting solutions; third, we can utilize the strengths of each collaborator, reducing the need for duplication and maximizing the capacity of each group and finally, it can improve the health of our communities by building common understandings and spreading the power for decision making more broadly.

As you think spring, I hope you will also think about expanding your ability to accomplish your goals by considering new collaborative relationships.



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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.