Shared Power Strategy Rule 3: We Are Collaborative

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Today, we’re continuing our journey through The Shared Power Strategy™ Rule Book with a look at Rule #3, which says “We Are Collaborative.”

Collaboration is a big buzzword in the nonprofit sector, but when it comes to this rule, we’re talking about something deeper than a practice where those in positions of power make cursory, half-hearted asks for outside opinions. We’re talking about a way of working in which those in nonprofit leadership roles give up some of their power or “turf,” and put trust in a wide range of internal and external stakeholders to help chart a course for their organization’s future. We’re talking about a process that seeks to build understanding before agreement, an approach that recognizes how disconnected our stakeholders can 

Read on for an overview of Rule #3, and keep an eye out for additional tools we plan to release in the coming weeks to help you make these rules your reality.


We bring our wide range of diverse stakeholders together to help shape our strategies.

In case you’re starting to worry that centering our beneficiaries (Rule #2) means we’ll stop listening to our other stakeholders, don’t. We recognize that our organization’s ability to advance its mission depends on the support of a complex web of stakeholders, and we work hard to effectively include all of them in collaboratively shaping and responding to our strategies. 

This requires us to understand who our stakeholders are, and how they relate to one another. Operating under the definition that a stakeholder is anyone who “affects or is affected by our work,” we recognize that we must include a wide array of people in the strategy process—everyone from our staff and board members to volunteers, community partners, legislators, friends and family of program participants, donors, funders, affiliates (in the case of federated organizations), and possibly many others. 

These stakeholders all have an impact on one another, and on our success relative to our mission. If we leave any of them out, we run the risk of minimizing the role each of them can play in driving the change our organization seeks. But if we involve all of them in shaping our strategies in the right ways, at the right times, and in the right combinations, we can foster a symbiotic relationship between them that helps our organization do more good for the people and communities we serve.

Keep an eye on out for Rule #4 next week, which will answer a big question many of you have posted about the Shared Power Strategy™ approach: how will we ever get anything done with all these stakeholders involved?

Download The Shared Power Strategy™ Rule Book

Within it are the five new rules that will transform the way your nonprofit approaches strategy, making the process more effective, inclusive and equitable. 

A picture of the Shared Power Strategy™ Rule Book

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