Collaboration helps organizations leverage differences, balance stakeholder concerns, and achieve common goals.
Government and nonprofit entities, in particular, are increasingly joining forces to address complex issues that require a comprehensive approach. Interorganizational collaborations can improve services and produce cost savings through shared resources and increased efficiency. However, it is challenging to determine the impact of systems operating in real and evolving communities—and to attribute an individual organization’s outcomes to its involvement in a collaboration versus other factors.
This brief describes types of interorganizational collaborations ranging from informal to structured: networking, cooperation, collaboration and partnership, outsourcing, and joint ventures. It also explains the importance of rigorous evaluation of interorganizational collaborations, which requires information sharing and coordinated data collection. It reviews key considerations, including research questions, indicators, measures, and methods, and provides resources for additional information.