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The Unlikely Lads - collaboration partners explained

Updated: May 28




From our experience, the VCSE organisations that do the best and last the longest are ones that proactively work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and others. Working in isolation is exhausting and is not as rewarding as working with others. So who should we be seeking to build a relationship with?

UK charities and social enterprises should consider collaborating with a diverse range of stakeholders and partners to maximize their impact and achieve their goals. Here are some key types of stakeholders and partners to consider:

  1. Other Charities and Social Enterprises:

  • Similar Mission Organizations: Collaborate with organizations that have similar missions to amplify efforts, join up support and avoid duplication.

  • Complementary Organizations: Partner with entities that offer complementary services to provide holistic support to beneficiaries.

  1. Government and Public Sector:

  • Local Authorities: Engage with local council staff, councillors and other authorities to align efforts with regional priorities and access local resources.

  • National Government: Work with government departments to influence policy, secure funding, and participate in national initiatives.

  • Public Services: Collaborate with schools, healthcare providers, and social services to integrate and enhance service delivery.

  1. Private Sector and Businesses:

  • Corporate Partnerships: Engage with businesses for funding, sponsorship, and volunteer programs. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives can align with charity goals.

  • Social Enterprises and B Corporations: Partner with socially responsible businesses to create sustainable and impactful projects.

  1. Foundations and Grant-making Organizations:

  • Charitable Trusts and Foundations: Seek partnerships with foundations that provide grants and funding for specific projects or general operations.

  • Community Foundations: Collaborate with community foundations that support local initiatives and projects.

  1. Academic and Research Institutions:

  • Universities and Colleges: Partner with academic institutions for research, evaluation, and evidence-based practices.

  • Think Tanks and Research Organizations: Work with research bodies to gain insights, conduct studies, and influence policy.

  1. Community and Grassroots Organizations:

  • Local Community Groups: Engage with grassroots organizations to ensure local needs are met and to foster community support.

  • Faith-based Organizations: Collaborate with religious groups that have strong community ties and resources.

  1. Healthcare and Social Care Providers:

  • Hospitals and Clinics: Partner with healthcare providers to address health-related issues within communities.

  • Mental Health Services: Collaborate with mental health organizations to provide comprehensive support.

  1. Educational Institutions:

  • Schools, Colleges and Universities: Engage with educational institutions to deliver programs and services to students and to access academics and academic funding.

  • Adult Education Centres: Work with adult education providers to offer training and skills development.

  1. Volunteers and Individual Supporters:

  • Volunteer Networks: Build partnerships with volunteer organizations to recruit and manage volunteers.

  • Beneficiaries and Community Members: Involve beneficiaries in decision-making and project implementation to ensure their needs are addressed.

  1. Media and Communications Partners:

  • Press and Media Outlets: Collaborate with media to raise awareness, advocate for causes, and share success stories.

  • Social Media Influencers: Partner with influencers to reach wider audiences and engage new supporters.

  1. Clients and Beneficiaries:

  • Insights, Feedback and Ideas: Proactively listen to what your clients are telling you - they know a lot which could help you achieve better outcomes for them.

  • Delivery Support: Volunteers and clients can use their lived experience to co-design, co-produce and deliver what your community of interest needs - get them involved!


Building working relationships with a broad range of stakeholders and partners, can help UK charities and social enterprises enhance their resource base, improve service delivery, and achieve greater social impact.......and become more resilient.

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