Sunday, May 16, 2010

Control or Collaboration? You Can't Have It Both Ways

I'm working with a client on a grant writing process for a project that is due in about 2 weeks. I am accustomed to working with multiple project partners in a collabortaive planning and program development process, but I have also worked with clients who had more of a "top down" approach through which an administrator or small group of administrators developed a program design, made the decsions, and passed their decisions on to me.

However, this grant process is a bit different because the client is trying to use both approaches.  Well, they are trying to walk through a collaborative planning process, while doing their own planning behind the scenes and trying to steer the collaborative planning process in the direction they want. Sure, I have seen this before, but usually the faux "collaborative" process is not nearly as extensive as this one is.

As you might expect, people who think they are participating in a real collaborative process are beginning to bristle at the not-so-subtle control being wielded by those at the top.

What does this mean for the grant writing process?  It will be slow.  It will be contentious at times.  It certainly is not the best way to plan a program.

Real collaboration has many benefits beyond being able to write that you went through a collaborative process.  It helps leverage community resources and it builds relationships that will pay off far into the future.

Short circuiting the process so you can maintain some extra control is really not worth it in the long run.  In fact, your collaborative partners would be grateful if you were upfront about your intentions at the beginning.  If the collaborative process is not going to be real, they have better things to do, just like you do.

Related Posts:

Trust the Grant Writing Process

When Partnerships Go Bad

The Importance of Respect When Working Collaboratively with Others

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About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.