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Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and now most cities have an array of options for organizations looking for an affordable place to work. But coworking is a lot more than just prorated office space; it provides experiences and opportunities not found in other traditional offices. If you’re a nonprofit just getting your feet under you, or even if you’ve become a staple in your community, coworking has a lot to offer. Let’s take a look.
Nonprofit Hub runs a coworking space (or a “collaboration center,” as we like to call it), and we’re constantly surprised by some of the relationships formed between our members. We see seemingly disparate organizations—an arts council and a youth leadership group, for example—collaborate on awesome projects right in our building. When you’re working just feet away from dozens of people trying to make an impact, collaboration is bound to happen.
Even if collaboration doesn’t happen right away, building relationships and networking is pretty unavoidable in a coworking setting. A lot of our members enjoy their morning coffee and have lunch together regularly. Being able to have these inter-organizational interactions within your own office is incredibly advantageous. In our space, and I’m sure in spaces across the country, members have become advocates for each other. They share one another’s events on social media, and use word of mouth to tell their friends and family about their coworking peers.
A lot of coworking spaces around the nation offer structured programming for their members. This is especially common if the space is centered around specific types of organizations (i.e. start-ups or nonprofits). Not only does programming provide real, tactical experience for you and your organization, but it can also offer additional chances for networking and interaction with others in your coworking space.
Occasionally, programming is provided by certified third parties, providing a world-class experience while giving your organization additional exposure. Depending on the coworking space’s membership plan, these services can be offered for free or for a small charge.
One of the biggest burdens of owning or leasing your own office is maintenance and upkeep. With coworking spaces, building managers take care of it all. IT services can also prove burdensome, but a lot of coworking facilities have their own IT staff, or else take care of the outsourcing themselves. All you need to worry about is your work (and maybe what flavor of coffee you’ll have that morning).
Coworking spaces aren’t for everyone, and you should do additional research before making any major decisions. However, if you think your organization could benefit from joining a community of movers and shakers, coworking could be your next move.