BoardSource Spark

BoardSource is committed to helping nonprofits accelerate and amplify the work they do — and we are excited to share a story of how three organizations went beyond their organizational boundaries to do together what they couldn’t do alone.


Putting a Year of National Service on the Map

Putting a Year of National Service on the Map

In 2014, three nonprofits were working in parallel to expand national service in America. They had much in common — a strong commitment to their common mission, a history of working hard to achieve it, and a desire to go beyond incremental growth and achieve real scale.

To address this desire, they looked to each other. Working together, they developed a new vision and goals for their collective work, as well as a strategy to achieve it. But they also realized that even this new collaboration wasn’t enough. To really achieve scale, they needed to become one organization, and in 2016, the Service Year Alliance was formed.

Service Year Alliance has put the term “service year” on the map and now has a state-of-the-art online marketplace and resource hub to match young people interested in service with service year opportunities, with the vision to see 1 million young people doing a service year in a generation’s time.

"Three years ago, there were three small national organizations struggling to advance the same mission. By putting together our capabilities and creating one strong organization, we’re poised to achieve our goal of making a year of service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans."

Shirley Sagawa, CEO, Service Year

As the story of Service Year Alliance illustrates, sometimes the best way to make things happen is to work in partnership with another organization. Whether you are seeking to add a new program or location, to expand and scale your programs, or to provide additional services to your clients, it’s worthwhile to consider if you could best achieve these goals through a strategic alliance or restructuring with another organization.

Are you looking to scale a program, provide additional services, or add a new location?

We've developed focused resources and discussion guides to help boards reflect on where your organization is, where it's headed, and how a strategic alliance or restructuring could help you get there. 

Download the Discussion Guide

What is the board’s role in strategic alliances and restructuring?

In general, the board’s role falls into the following categories: strategy and planning, identifying and connecting with potential partners, and negotiating and approving strategic alliances and restructuring. Its engagement level will depend, however, on the type of strategic partnership.

Learn More    The Board Engagement Spectrum


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