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To Partner or Not To Partner – The Piece of the Pie is Only So Big!


Event / Activity Planning - Choosing To Partner….

Or Choosing to Go It Alone (and duplicate the effort).

Many small communities, like Tombstone Arizona, are filled with GIVING, LOVING, DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS who want only to give back to their community.   The Tombstone Community is fortunate to have amazing nonprofit and community groups that have organized to promote Tombstone, its history, and to support various causes (food & toy drives, etc).

And then there are also our city services like our Law Enforcement and Fire Departments that stand at the ready to protect and serve our community.  They also have organized activities like annual toy & food drives.  And they have also partnered with Tombstone’s nonprofits and community groups to conduct activities.


When we all work together on events –

it makes the event/activity stronger, and much more successful.

Why Do Duplication's of Effort Happen in a Small Community, like Tombstone AZ?

A duplication of effort that is focused on the same cause occurs within a community because of:

  • Lack of Knowledge.Organizations/Individuals are unaware of similar efforts by other organizations/individuals.
  • My Way or the Highway. Organizations/Individuals believe their approach to meeting the need or conducting the event is the only correct way.
  • Confusion.Different organizations/individuals are unclear about who should be doing what in relation to each other (no plan of action).
  • Communication:  The various community organizations/individuals don’t communicate with each other – and everyone just does their own thing.


What is the solution to ensure that we all work together and not in a vacuum?  How can we ensure that partnership are formed working toward a common goal?

Step 1: Overcoming Lack of Knowledge. 

YOUR organization/group or YOU as an individual must be aware that “you’re not alone” and others are also in the community.

Every community based organization should continually consider (and ask) “who else is or maybe conducting the SAME or SIMILAR events as my organization." 

Organizations/groups/individuals cannot be “territorial” about a community event/activity.  The goal is to benefit the community – regardless of who takes the lead or participates in the event.

It is proven that small communities who have nonprofits and community based organization that conduct duplicate events or effort reap less (money or goods) than if they would have combined their efforts.  Their piece of the pie become smaller.

Step 2: Overcoming “My Way or the Highway” Attitude

Focusing on the goal is the key.   A community event or a charitable drive isn’t about personalities or who thought of the idea.   It is about the end result – HELPING AND SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY!  That is the warm fuzzy… not who gets the credit.

Step 3: Overcoming Confusion

This is all about planning.  Having a plan – everybody understands the plan, nothing is secret.   Everybody has a job.  

You’ve heard the old saying“Failure to Plan, is Planning to Fail.”

Step 4: Effective Communication

One of the biggest benefits to effective communication is productiveness. 

Communication of when, where, what, who, and why is a must.  

And the information must be communicated to others involved in the event/activity.   These are your internal customers.

And the information must be communicated to the Community Members and people who will participate in your event, or donate to your activity.   These are your external customers.

Both your Internal and External customers deserve your attention and information.


The BIG Drawback of Organizations Duplicating Efforts.

“The piece of the pie is only so big.”

In a small town, like Tombstone AZ, our business owners receive anA LOTof requests for donations.  

Imagine this scenario:

Normally a business sets aside or budgets a certain amount of money annually for charitable giving.

And we know in Tombstone, AZ businesses are generous and the town is only so big (1600 people).   Business owners generally want to give.  Unfortunately they can’t give … and give… and give – beyond what they have budgeted.

And let’s say (hypothetically) the business has set aside $50 to donate for the local holiday drive (toy, food, etc.) that is coming up.

In a matter of three days – the business has THREE different groups/organizations/individuals arrive to solicit for a donation for the essentially the SAME drive (toy, food, etc.).   It is apparent that the groups/organizations/individuals aren’t working together… and they seem to be aware of the others activities, and don’t seem to care or show a concern that there is a duplication of effort.


So who loses out? Can you guess? 

Well there are many ways this could play out.

The first group/organization/individual to arrive at the business could get the full donation.  Then the other two grumble about the business all over town that this business isn’t Charitable.  YES, THIS HAPPENS!


The business owner could only give a small amount to Group 1 in anticipation that other groups/organizations/individuals are soliciting for the same cause.   And then the other groups don’t solicit from the business so Group 1 gets a smaller donation.  


All three groups/organizations/individuals show up … and each get a small donation – because the business owner is thinking – “Who else is out there soliciting for this type of event?”  And honestly probably thinking “Wholly cow Tombstone only has 1600 people, why is there such an overlap soliciting/collecting donations.”

So as you can see … when there is an overlap, or an uncoordinated effort to solicit donations/goods in support of a charitable effort – the piece of the pie can get smaller – the business owner can feel frustrated – and ultimately who loses is the recipient of the charitable efforts.


In Summary:

The scenario happens every day in your Community, and through the United States.  

I’m sure you can see that if the 3 Groups/Organizations/Individuals would’ve collaborated – the donation would have been the full $50 (or maybe more).

Also when groups/organizations/individuals work together it strengthens the relationship with the business community.  The business owner feels that they can give fully.   That they won’t be over-asked – and that they feel good about the helping give toward the intended goal – which is about helping the recipient.

These efforts should never be about who gets the credit/recognition for the charitable act.    The celebration should happen amongst the collaborative groups when the goal is met.

When we all work together on events –

it makes the event/activity stronger, and much more successful.