Advancing Collaboration



Advancing Collaboration with Lift Up

About the Organization

Lift Up is a digital nonprofit platform that funds certified projects with the greatest impact around the world. We operate a true 100% model because we believe every single dollar makes a difference.   



Featured Guest
Shane O'Rourke
CEO and Founder

Lift Up


Approach to Collaboration

100% of our work is built on collaboration. We currently work with 37 partner organizations in 16 different countries. To lift up people around the world, we certify other nonprofit organizations through a rigorous 20-step certification process and work through our boots on the ground partners.  

We also connect corporate partners to our NGO partners. For example, we sent a team of 14 Highmark staff – a local Minneapolis-based custom home building company – to Peru to build a school, as well as train local people in the trade to further the impact. This not only made an impact on education in a week but also created 6 months of jobs for local parents to make an income as they built a school for their children. 

Application of the 9 Considerations for Collaboration

Build Trust

We have a 3-step process for our donors that we've built on a foundation of transparency and trust. 

1. Donors have the power to choose where their funds are allocated and choose from an ala carte menu of projects. 

2. We give 100% of public donations directly to projects and fundraise separately to reimburse credit card fees. We truly give 100% of the donation to the project the donor chooses.

3. Donors get to see the impact of their donation with photos, videos, GPS, and the number of people impacted.  

These 3-steps ensure our donors are included in the entire process of impact, which builds trust and provides transparency. 

Have a Vision

Our CEO is a visionary. Every decision we make is made through the lens of our vision to Lift Up millions of people in need. We know where we want to be in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, and beyond. Every year, we set a goal and move forward with tactical items to ensure we stay on track. For example, we know we want to have a specific amount of monthly donations by the end of the year. We break that into quarterly goals, which gives us our action items. When we collaborate internally, and externally with other NGOs, we drive towards our larger goals.  

Seek to Assure the Success of Your Collaborators

We have a robust 20-step certification process that not only ensures transparency, impact, and sustainability but also includes a full list of expectations that must be agreed upon before we start any collaboration. This allows all parties to be unified from the very beginning. Our collaborators come back to work with us multiple times throughout the year to help them meet their goals.  

Take Stock

We do frequent SWOT analyses to keep us focused on our mission. These allow us to be transparent about how we can operate within our strengths, seek out partners who can complement our weaknesses, or provide insight and mentorship to help us become stronger.  

Start Small

We always start our collaborations with a smaller project ($2-$5K) before we jump into larger projects ($20-$50k). This strategy allows us to formalize a collaborative workflow on a smaller scale, while also building a strong relationship with our collaborators. Once we have a foundation of trust and confidence, we move into more complex and large-scale projects together.

Fail Fast, and Build Rigorous Feedback Loops

We are currently implementing quarterly impact reports, which will highlight the impact of our partners' projects and will also gather multi-dimensional feedback every 3 months (sustainability, what worked well, what didn’t, etc.) If these quarterly impact reports are missed, partners risk losing their “Certified Project Partner” status and lose the ability to launch projects on the Lift Up platform.  

Take a Portfolio Approach

We map out the potential success of any collaboration. We have a brilliant group of board members that help us minimize our risk and keep our collaborations diversified, while still meeting our mission and values. By scaling partner relationships appropriately, we can identify and build upon what works, including specific partners and best practices.  

Consider Non-Traditional Partners

We collaborate with corporations in entirely different ways than non-profits. For example, we have a group of corporate sponsors that believe in our mission and donate to our operational costs. With their financial and in-kind support, we can stay true to our 100% model and lift up nonprofits around the world. Specifically, we have one corporation that has donated its time and talents to build our platform and further our mission. Another organization provides marketing materials at wholesale cost.  

We are on track to use our platform in a new and specialized way for corporations seeking new philanthropic opportunities. We will be able to provide them with hand-selected projects from around the world so their employees can give to needs that align with their company mission, as well as ours.  

Keep Your Donors Apprised of Your Collaborations

We call all of our donors Lifters or Heavy Lifters. We send regular emails, appreciation messages, and small gifts to show our gratitude. We also show them the impacts of their donations. Our Lifters choose where their donations go and can see the impact of their generosity. This provides ongoing points of contact and cyclical funding. Our donors come back an average of three times a year to donate to a new project. 

Future Collaborations

Ideal collaborations for Lift Up would be scalable, trustworthy, and transparent partnerships with NGOs around the world. We start small with new NGOs; once they've passed our 20-step certification process, we begin a small-scale project to ensure they achieve sustainable and tangible results. Ideally, they will continue to use our platform multiple times a year to drive change in their community. Each project builds more trust and transparency with our donor following, resulting in larger donations and faster funding.


Take the lead and make it easy for organizations to collaborate! We can do more together than apart.

This article was composed by Rachel Romana Liu.

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