Sisterhood Agenda

Why Women Organizations Should Work Together

Angela D. Coleman

Angela, Founder & President of Sisterhood Agenda, is an award-winning sisterhood activist, women's empowerment specialist, and author.

Latest posts by Angela D. Coleman (see all)

We know that we are powerful women fighting for respect, women’s rights, equality, equity, holistic health, and social change.  We want and deserve to be free from violence, prejudice, and marginalization.  These issues are complicated, require organization, dedication, and resources.  Real social change often takes time.  That is why women organizations need to work together.

Embrace partnerships for real change.

THE MAIN WHY

It is a no-brainer, really.  Together, we are much more powerful than by ourselves.  Want to multiply your activism by 10?  Add ten partners.  By working together, we create networks, not just organizations.  When our networks come together, we make movements.

Women movements must be grounded in this reality:  working together, in the spirit of sisterhood, is not just a strategy, it is THE strategy.

As changemakers, we want our agencies to not just exist and survive but thrive.  We want our programs and projects to be impactful.  We are changing lives, increasing opportunities, and making a positive difference in the world.  Let’s work with those who also want that and are actively doing this, too.

EXPECT CHALLENGES

Are there challenges to working with other agencies?  Absolutely.  Collaboration is an art that too many of us must learn because it is not always intuitive.   Many of us have a very individual approach to success.  As girls, as women, and as nonprofit organizations, we have been conditioned to compete with each other for attention, for relationships, for employment, for funding, and the list goes on.

Partnerships are like families.  Some members are more healthy and helpful than others.  We can overcome challenges by overcoming our individual issues and begin all of our joint ventures with a foundation of respect.  If you are a founder or you are leading your agency in another capacity, look at how you can work with others.  Are you making it a priority?  There are sure to be complementary resources in your community so that you are not doing everything by yourself.  Remember:

No woman is an island.  It takes a village to raise a child.

Respect is the foundation of sisterhood collaboration.  I respect all of the amazing community leaders who are tackling issues affecting women and girls in their communities.  For me, more media exposure for your organization does not mean you get more respect.  I respect all of Sisterhood Agenda’s global partners equally.

REIMAGINING POSSIBILITIES

Be open to different ways of working together.  With creativity, collaboration can easily be redefined for the greatest good. One of the most simple and effective ways to work together is to connect to agencies serving the needs of women and girls that are all about connection.

When I say “connection,” I mean reaching out and touching each other beyond social media likes and shares.  I am specifically referring to increasing your impacts and effectiveness, gaining new tools and strengths, scaling, participating in partner meetings, and yes, physical one-on-one, in-person interactions.

READ MORE: How Trauma Can Spark Activism

Let’s remove limitations to who our partners are, where our partners are, and what our partners can do.  Here are a few ways to work with other agencies serving women and girls:

  •  Join Sisterhood Agenda’s global network or become a global partner
  • Partner with others on funding applications and local community projects
  • Work with partner organizations to implement your special project, especially those projects that are new and exciting
  • Include for-profit businesses, especially businesses that provide services that target women and girls
  • Talk to potential partnership staff first to assess the potential partnership before you talk to the head of the agency

Keep doing this very important work!  One aspect of collaboration that is rarely discussed is its capacity to build organizational resilience and prevent personnel burnout.  Just as strong social networks provide resilience for women and girls who experience trauma, your partners can help you understand that you are not alone in your fight for equality and justice.

When your work is strong, people aspire to be a part of something good.  Ideally, potential partners will come to you.

Photo credit:  Adobe

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