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Northern Ireland

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This page is an overview of our work with CollaborationNI over a three year period.

CollaborationNI is an independent support and advice service for voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland, funded by Building Change Trust. We have been supporting this initiative, as advisers and then evaluators, since 2013.


Drawing on survey data and interviews from around 130 organisations supported by CollaborationNI, we can paint an independent picture of collaborative working between voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland.

Drawn from


  • 100 survey respondents

  • 30 interviews

  • 6 case studies

CollaborationNI Supports voluntary organisations to:


  • Develop or strengthen a network or alliance
  • Form a new group structure or umbrella body
  • Jointly influence and campaign
  • Share staff, resources and/or space
  • Share information or establish systems for cross-referral of beneficiaries
  • Jointly fundraise
  • Prepare/apply for consortia tendering
  • Jointly deliver services
  • Merge

The case
for support
is compelling.

Collaboration drivers


  • Delivering better outcomes for beneficiaries

  • Funding pressures/organisational survival

Positive features of support


  • Independent and impartial – ‘the honest broker’

  • Professional and knowledgeable




  • Dealing with differences 

  • Developing a shared vision

  • Designing appropriate structures


Support outcomes



  • More knowledgeable

  • More able and willing to collaborate

  • Links to behaviour change: more confident and more trusting


Collaboration outcomes


  • Service gaps addressed

  • Greater choice

  • Enhanced advocacy and influence

  • Retention of some key services and streamlining of others

Case studies


Talk to us

We have plenty of experience of collaboration and partnership work and would be happy to share our insights.

+44 (0)20 7921 2940


Collaboration NI pic


CollaborationNI: The impact of collaboration on service users

Ben Cairns, Miranda Lewis

Our latest report for Building Change Trust looks at whether collaboration, and support for it, produces benefits for beneficiaries.

Relevant resources

Head heart and hands front cover image

Conference Papers:

Head, Heart & Hands Make Collaboration Work

Leeann Kelly

Ten top tips for partnership building and lessons learned through CollaborationNI

Learn more about IVAR