Section Quicklinks

Strategic alliances can take many forms, including the sharing of information and resources, partnerships, collaborations, consolidations, and mergers with nonprofit and for-profit entities. Strategic alliances help to strengthen individual nonprofit capacity, as well as the capacity of the sector as a whole. Strategic alliances and partnerships with public and private sector entities can serve to fill in gaps in services to constituents and communities and better use available resources.


  • Legal Practices are legally required of all Montana nonprofits
  • Essential Practices are widely recognized as industry standards and generally expected of all nonprofits
  • Recommended Practices should be considered by all nonprofits, with implementation dependent on capacity and life stage



  1. ★★ A nonprofit actively seeks strategic alliances as a means to help achieve goals, improve effectiveness and organizational efficiency, ensure effective use of charitable resources, strengthen community connections with constituents and others, and improve services.
  2. ★★ Decisions regarding alliances are consistent with the strategic goals of an organization; the impact on the brand and image of the organization should be positive. A nonprofit carefully considers how entering into strategic alliances will affect all parties involved. Strategic alliances are never made purely to meet funding challenges and are made only between competent, collaborative, and functioning organizations. Also in “Fund Development” 
  3. ★ On a regular basis, a nonprofit board of directors conducts a community assessment to identify organizations providing similar services and to assess its relationship to/with those organizations.
  4. ★★ A nonprofit is knowledgeable about other organizations providing similar or complementary services in its community and/or service area and is prepared to identify, promote and provide referrals to other organizations that may be better able to meet the needs of its constituents, reducing duplication of services and competition for resources. 
  5. ★ When appropriate, nonprofits foster relationships with similar organizations and state, regional and national associations to support mission advancement. Nonprofits participate as actively as possible in local community events, mission-related networks, public gatherings and other parts of community life.
  6. ★ When appropriate, nonprofits assist one another through alliances and resource sharing. 
  7. ★ To promote overall accountability within the nonprofit sector, a nonprofit openly communicates with peer organizations to gather and share lessons learned and best practices.
  8. ★ Nonprofits consider consolidations and/or mergers when it preserves or promotes best interest of the constituents, community, service area or nonprofit mission. 
  9. Nonprofits that have local chapters, branches, or affiliates have written policies and procedures governing the activities of those chapters, branches or affiliates to ensure their operations are consistent with the mission of the governing organizations.
  10. ★★★ If a nonprofit organization is anticipating a strategic alliance, partnership, or similar interaction with a for-profit entity, the nonprofit must determine the specific tax implications that may be related to the income associated with the venture and any potential impact on its tax exempt status. US
  11. ★ A nonprofit works to establish communication with and mutual understanding among and across government, nonprofit and for-profit sectors.
  12. ★ A nonprofit proactively seeks opportunities to participate in a spectrum of alliance activities, as resources and capacity allow, from coordination and collaboration to multi-sector collective impact initiatives, which align data, practices and communication to address complex community-wide challenges.
  13. ★★ A nonprofit values and practices inclusion, diversity and equity and therefore seeks input from people with various perspectives who have lived experience in the conditions the nonprofit strives to impact; the input is sought to both identify challenges and to develop potential approaches and solutions. Input is sought to identify challenges, barriers and potential solutions as well as ways to mitigate barriers.
  14. ★ A nonprofit recognizes the benefit a skilled facilitator and trusted convener play in increasing a community's collective ability to align their efforts and/or create alliances. The nonprofit helps identify and develop this type of resource as needed. 
  15. ★ Nonprofits consider fiscal sponsorship under appropriate circumstances on behalf of organizations where the partnering entity will 1) fit with mission and scope of the sponsoring organization; 2) be consistent with long-term goals of the sponsoring organization; 3) complement or enhance the mission and goals of the sponsoring organization; and 4) allow both organizations to reach populations currently not served or underserved. Also in “Governance” 
  16. ★ In its alliances within and outside the nonprofit sector, a nonprofit actively clarifies expectations, roles and capacity within the partnership/alliance; ensures it retains its ability to uphold its values, mission and brand in the partnership; and creates a process for conflict processes for conflict, resolution, recognition, promotion and future renegotiation of the venture/alliance. Also in “Fund Development” 
  17. ★ When considering or engaging in strategic alliances, nonprofits are candid with funders about the true opportunity costs of collaborative efforts and openly discuss the potential for funding of those costs.