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Peer Review

Meeting the Collaboration Challenge: Developing Strategic Alliances Between Nonprofit Organizations and Businesses



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 29, 2013 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: The material takes the form of an 88-page workbook entitled “Meeting the Collaboration Challenge Workbook: Developing Strategic Alliances Between Nonprofit Organizations and Businesses.” The workbook “provides a step-by-step process for nonprofits to explore and develop alliances with businesses” and was developed by the Drucker Foundation as an accompaniment to James E. Austin’s 2000 book entitled "The Collaboration Challenge." The workbook contains an introduction by Austin (Harvard Business School) and Frances Hesselbein (The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management). It also contains a series of exercises and worksheets that “present[s] a four-phase process to help your organization prepare to meet the collaboration challenge, plan strategic alliances with businesses, develop alliances with businesses, and periodically renew business alliances.” The workbook is located on the web site for the Leader to Leader Institute. From the "about" link: “Established in 1990 as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, the Leader to Leader Institute furthers its mission—to strengthen the leadership of the social sector—by providing social sector leaders with essential leadership wisdom, inspiration and resources to lead for innovation and to build vibrant social sector organizations.”
Type of Material: Workshop & training material
Recommended Uses: • The tutorial could easily be utilized for an individual or team written assignment / project in a graduate business course in which a strategic planning component is of importance to the outcomes for the course.A university instructor might use the workbook (or components of the workbook) to conduct a workshop with students who are studying and/or currently working in the nonprofit sector.
Technical Requirements: The web site is easily accessed with any Internet browser. The workbook is downloadable as a PDF file for which Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.
Identify Major Learning Goals: • Learners will understand how a nonprofit organization "can further its mission through strategic alliances with businesses." • Learners will understand the specific actions that non-profit organizations can take "to prepare to meet the collaboration challenge, to plan strategic alliances with businesses, to develop alliances with businesses, and to periodically renew business alliances.”By the end of this tutorial, students should be able to: • articulate the conditions necessary for creating a collaborative strategic alliance between a nonprofit and a business. • execute the necessary details for building a successful strategic alliance between a non-profit and a business
Target Student Population: The workbook would be an appropriate addition to courses in a nonprofit management/leadership program. Depending upon an instructor’s teaching objectives, the material could be used at either undergraduate or graduate levels (though graduate-level implementation is most likely).
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No prerequisite knowledge or skills are required to surf and read the workbook. However, the workbook is designed for participants who currently work in the nonprofit sector (e.g., the exercises are "designed to encourage appropriate participation, organize necessary information, and guide board, volunteer, and staff discussions toward successful nonprofit-business alliances").

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: • The tutorial is well conceived with worksheets for designing a collaborative initiative between a nonprofit and business, as well as appendices that offer end users useful exercises that can be used to develop a more clear understanding of expectations in the design of a strategic alliance initiative.
Concerns: • The workbook was developed as part of a series of materials that also include James Austin’s 2000 book (The Collaboration Challenge) and a video entitled “Meeting the Collaboration Challenge Video.” Although the workbook can stand alone, the use of all three resources would provide a richer learning experience. [Note that the text and the video must be purchased.]

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • Although this tutorial is specifically geared to a nonprofit audience with an interest in building a strategic alliance with business, it is also an excellent educational tool. It provides many thought-provoking exercises for students to consider related to business strategy and the nonprofit business sector.
Concerns: • Concerns are extremely minor. I do believe that a general working knowledge of business strategy would be useful for students who use this tutorial. However, useful as used here is of minor importance when one compares the value that could be generated from use of the tutorial.The workbook assumes current employment in the nonprofit sector. (Instructors who use the workbook in an academic setting need to be aware of this limiting factor.)

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • Clearly, the greatest utility of the tutorial are the exercises noted in the worksheets throughout the tutorial. In combination with the material contained in Appendices B and C, this tutorial is very easy to use, interactive, and engaging.The workbook is easily accessible and downloadable from the Leader to Leader Institute web site. It is designed to engage participants and to lead them in a results-oriented direction.
Concerns: • The PDF format is not visually appealing, but the materials are nonetheless very professionally presented. • The workshop could be offered in an online format, but instructors would have to make creative design modifications in order to do so.

Other Issues and Comments: The web link in MERLOT’s materials workspace is not functioning properly. The correct link follows: