Charitable donors frequently complain that the organizations they support too often duplicate each other’s efforts when they could join forces and collaborate. For a long while now, we have earnestly attempted to make collaboration a priority. Most organizations specialize, and UPF is no exception. We are good at some things, and not so accomplished at others. So, we’ve formulated a strategy of thoughtful collaboration.
One defining feature of collaboration is that the effort should be mutually beneficial to all parties. UPF’s film premieres, hosted with the help of hundreds of organizations nationwide, are a clear example of this principle. Shariq Siddiqui, former Executive Director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, has pointed out that, “By organizing film premieres of UPF’s Islamic Art and Prince Among Slaves in Indianapolis, we have been able to introduce Muslim Alliance to an entirely different group of people who otherwise would never come to our events. That has resulted in increased donations and volunteers for us and, I presume, for UPF.” Such mutually beneficial premieres have taken place as a result of collaborations with CAIR chapters, MSAs, mosques, and other organizations nationwide.
Secondly, each party should bring something of value to the partnership. For example, as part of our My Fellow American project, UPF wanted to create an online film record of Christian and Jewish leaders encouraging positive relations with Muslims. Recently, the Islamic Society of North America launched a ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ project to connect faith leaders of different religions. As our Outreach Director Daniel Tutt points out: “We worked with ISNA President Imam Mohammed Magid to film these faith leaders as part of a joint campaign. Neither of us could have accomplished our goal without the other’s help. We each brought something of value to the effort.”
Sharing experiences and knowledge expands and enriches opportunities for collaboration across the field. Several times a month, various individuals and organizations seek out UPF for advice about foundation grants, filmmaking leads, organizational matters, and legal issues. It is our hope to continue developing such fantastic opportunities, and see where they take us.