Fostering Collaboration Through Convening and Grant Making

On October 4th and 5th Peer Leaders had the privilege of attending the Maryland Nonprofit Annual Conference. Session topics included: human services, marketing and communications, finance and operations, leadership and more.

Jessica Plummer’s excited to share her takeaways on the session she attended. In Fundraising and Philanthropy: Fostering Collaboration Through Convening and Grant Making. Participants learned approaches to collaboratively solve complex problems and best practices for fostering collaboration among nonprofits.  Speakers included: Kacey Wetzel, Director of Programs for Outreach and Education, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Gena O’Keefe, Senior associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Carol Trawick, Founder, The Trawick Foundation, and Manon Matchett, Community Investment Officer, Greater Washington Community Foundation.

Carol Trawick, founder of the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation, began by sharing that her organization started with only two employees and has grown to 702 employees all by building partnerships.  She encourages others to collaborate with at least four other nonprofits.  Here’s a few of Carol’s key points:

  • The key is to listen. Listen to your partners.
  • Life is dynamic. It’s always changing.
  • Step back. Be objective.

Her final thought for the session was a piece of advice that she was given many years ago that she still uses to this day, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Manon Matchett, Community Investment Officer, asks the audience, “What does collaboration mean? And how do you define collaboration?”  As a funder, Manon asks the audience key questions:

  • What are you living for?
  • Why are you doing what you’re doing?
  • How are you making an impact?
  • How do we come to the table collectively?
  • Who are we working with to support?

Manon explains that as a funder she has to be conscientious at listening to all parties. She emphasized that, “We have to come together with one mindset.” Manon leaves us with a thought provoking question, “If you reached your dream goal and solved the problem then what other problem would you solve?” The overall theme of the collaboration session was listening and understanding your own motivation. As a former Volunteer Coordinator (VM30), I found these tips to be a great reminder of not just how to achieve our goals, as a collective, but also why these goals are important,  not just to us as individuals, but as a community. A volunteer community.

From left to right: Manon Matchett, Gena O’Keefe,  Kacey Wetzel, Carol Trawick

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