Collaboration is often thought of as a way for agencies and organizations to stretch their budgets by pooling human resources. But in the field of prevention, collaboration also reflects a particular point of view: that by working together, partners can bring different perspectives to bear on a problem, thereby bringing about change.
There is no one prescribed formula for collaboration. People—and the situations they face—determine how collaborations come about, how they work, and what they ultimately accomplish. Yet, most collaborative activities ultimately fall into one of three categories:
There are a number of ways to enhance the effectiveness of your collaborative efforts:
- Involve communities that are already mobilized or ready to engage in community change.
- Combine collaboration with communications and education strategies. This can increase public awareness of a particular issue or program, attract community support, reinforce prevention messages delivered in the schools, and keep the public informed of program progress.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel! Look at what the people around you are already doing to prevent substance abuse, and build on their efforts. You can learn from both their successes and their mistakes.