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Collaboration is an intentional relationship between two or more individuals or organizations that come together to communicate, cooperate, and coordinate for the purpose of achieving common goals. These goals create shared values that enhance sustainable communities and citizen involvement.

The promotion of collaboration between the National Service Programs is a first priority in the process of creating support networks on both local and statewide levels. Creating strong, local CNCS collaborations is an important step toward creating collaborations with and among community agencies. It is especially important that members and staff of the Serve Illinois Commission, the Illinois State Corporation Office, and volunteers and staff of the national service program projects engage with organizations that include and represent low-income and other underserved individuals and communities.

Expectations for Collaboration

  • Each organization will define its own purpose and goals to accomplish, and will seek to develop partnerships that will support and enhance that vision.
  • National service programs will educate others through their networks, the definition of and expectations for collaboration.
  • National service programs will host regional community forums to begin the development of networks and collaborative opportunities.
  • National service programs will create a development of regional networks. Subsequently, there will be an increase in the percentage of national service programs that report working with community partners; such as other volunteer programs, national service programs, and volunteer centers, for the purposes of peer support and collaboration.
  • National service programs will develop collaborative goals for the community, in partnership with members of their regional network, and work together to achieve those goals. National service programs will continue to participate in networking opportunities or conferences (e.g. ICOVA, SIVC, and Service-Learning Conference).
  • National service programs will continue to invite and include other national service programs (VISTA, AmeriCorps State/National, Senior Corps, and Learn & Serve) to trainings or conferences, as appropriate
  • Ensure collaboration will promote growth for each partnering organization.
  • Be sure to create a unified structure and discuss, in detail, any assumptions or expectations in accomplishing a successful collaboration, such as:
  • Any pre-defined goals
  • Roles and responsibilities for each partner
  • Shared resources
  • Keep in mind that not every community or program will find circumstances for collaboration.