Inter-organizational networks : challenges, best practices, and relevance in Austin, TX
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In the recent years, the number of nonprofit organizations in the Austin area has proliferated. At the same time, the state economic budget crisis has reduced public and private resources available to social service providers. In addition, potential clients face many barriers to accessing the services being provided. Research suggests that service coordination and collaboration between service providers may be one way to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the nonprofit sector and improve outcomes for clients. The four objectives of this report are: 1) to present an overview of issues facing the Austin social services field as a whole, 2) to conduct an exploratory scan of existing Austin networks including their goals, organizational histories, and challenges that they face in their collaborative efforts, 3) to synthesize findings from a variety of publications in a thorough discussion of the challenges and best practices for forming effective inter-organizational working groups, and 4) to identify what Austin networks can learn from the literature and derive recommendations for enhancing coordinated efforts between social service providers in the city of Austin.