Your Nonprofit Alliance May Not Be a Good Idea (Michelle Shumate)

June 2022

Are you building successful alliances that truly benefit the mission of your organization?  We operate under the assumption that collaborations in and of themselves are a good idea; however, Michelle Shumate's extensive research of networks for social impact reveals why alliances are not always a good thing for nonprofit leaders to consider.  In episode #160 of Your Path to Nonprofit LeadershipMichelle articulates that network design and management is not universal, but instead illustrates that the type of social issue, mechanism for social impact and resources available all determine appropriate collaborative choices. She outlines critical issues that nonprofit leaders address in creating and managing networks, including social issue analysis, network governance, securing and managing funding, dealing with power and conflict, using data effectively and managing change. Do you know the top three choices to make before seeking an alliance?  After this episode you will.

"As nonprofit leaders we must think about how to design alliances that do more together than the individual organizations within that group could have done by themselves."



Michelle is the founding director of Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact (NNSI), the Delaney Family University Research Professor, and Associate Faculty at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. NNSI is dedicated to answering the question: How can nonprofit networks be rewired for maximum social impact? Her research focuses on how to design interorganizational networks to make the most social impact.  She is the author of Networks for Social Impact (2022, Oxford University Press). The National Science Foundation recognized her research with a CAREER award. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Army Research Office.  Nonprofit Quarterly, Stanford Social Innovation, and the Conference board have featured her work. She offers workshops, consulting, and coaching through the Social Impact Network Consulting. She is also spouse to Michael, mom to Oliver and Alex, an avid backyard birdwatcher, and a mediocre tennis player



About PMA Nonprofit Leadership 

As a firm, PMA Nonprofit Leadership is constantly developing content and programs to help you in three distinct ways.  The first way is to help you be a thought leader in the nonprofit sector by producing weekly content through our podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership. The second way is through individual coaching, training and our unique Mastermind Nonprofit Leadership program. The third way is to help your nonprofit organization through support of its strategic planning, board & staff development, and fundraising. Through our exclusive partnership with the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, we also  guide aspiring nonprofit leaders through the virtual New Development Professionals cohort training program, as well as the annual Leadership Gift School, now entering its 10th cohort season.  Let us know how we can help you! Join our community by signing up for our free resources here, and schedule a call if you'd like to learn more about ways we can help you on your journey to nonprofit leadership.