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United for Good: The Power of Nonprofit Collaboration
Episode 5828th March 2024 • IMPACTability: The Nonprofit Leaders' Podcast • Soukup Strategic Solutions
00:00:00 00:32:42

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In this episode of IMPACTability, The Nonprofit Leaders Podcast, host Josh Hirsch interviews Jessica Cecere, former CEO of Nonprofits First, about nonprofit collaborations. They discuss the importance of partnerships and collaborations in the nonprofit sector, especially during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. They also explore the difference between formal and handshake partnerships and when each is appropriate. Jessica shares a case study of a collaboration between the Edna Runner After School Center and Families First, highlighting the benefits of immediate partnerships in times of need. They also discuss the value of networking with fellow nonprofits to find potential collaborations.

The conversation then shifts to the taboo topic of nonprofit mergers and when it may be necessary for two organizations to come together as one. Jessica emphasizes the importance of assessing board and staff commitment, organizational capacity, and the alignment of strategic plans before considering a merger. They also discuss the challenges and benefits of mergers and the need for professional guidance throughout the process.

The episode concludes with a segment of Coaches Corner, where Stanton Cadow, CFRE, discusses how to assess the feasibility of a capital campaign for a nonprofit, including the importance of board and staff commitment, crafting a compelling narrative, and seeking professional guidance.

Guest Bio

Jessica Cecere is the Chief Executive Officer of Nonprofits First, Inc. and has over 32 years of nonprofit leadership experience. Ms. Cecere has also been a small business shareholder, a consultant, and an active community volunteer. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida State University. She is a BoardSource Certified Governance trainer and a Certified True Colors Facilitator. In years past, Jessica was also a Certified Consumer Credit Counselor and a Certified Counselor for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Ms. Cecere is an expert in board governance, nonprofit management, leadership facilitation and personal finance and has appeared in numerous local and national publications. Cecere was a long time local television media source in the area of credit and personal finance, as well as, serving as a frequent guest host on Clear Channel Radio’s WJNO morning news.

Jessica Cecere has a long history of community involvement with many community service and nonprofit organizations. She is a graduate and active alumnus of Leadership Florida and Leadership Palm Beach County. Jessica also serves as a volunteer on numerous committees. Jessica has served on 12 plus nonprofit boards and advisory councils from 1992 – 2023. Jessica is currently serving as a Board member for the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida and the Caribbean and Leadership Palm Beach.

Jessica is a recipient of the 2022 Women in Leadership Award for the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches Foundation and a recipient of the 2022 Leadership Palm Beach County Presidents Award.


  • Partnerships and collaborations are crucial in the nonprofit sector, especially during times of crisis.
  • Formal partnerships are necessary for long-term collaborations, while handshake partnerships can be suitable for short-term projects.
  • Networking with fellow nonprofits is essential for finding potential collaborations and expanding your organization's reach.
  • Nonprofit mergers should be considered when there is a financial or operational need, and when the missions of the organizations align.
  • Assessing board and staff commitment, organizational capacity, and strategic alignment are key factors in determining the feasibility of a capital campaign.


02:28 Topic: Nonprofit Collaborations

05:20 Formal vs. Handshake Partnerships

08:04 Case Study: Edna Runner After School Center

09:28 Finding Potential Collaborations

12:18 Networking with Fellow Nonprofits

15:07 Taboo Topic: Nonprofit Mergers

21:30 Unsuccessful Collaborations

24:28 Promoting Collaborations

26:10 Coaches Corner: Assessing Feasibility of a Capital Campaign

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