What happens when rivals work together for God’s kingdom?

When was the last time you cheered for the other team? Or invited your biggest competitor to work together towards the same goal? 

As Peter Greer and Chris Horst say in their book Rooting for Rivals, “The beauty and joy of what God is doing through us working together is far more compelling to the world around us than anything we can do alone.” 

Collaboration over competition

Last month, NCF Rocky Mountains, in partnership with The WaterStone Foundation, put Rooting for Rivals to the test at Converge, an event that challenged mission-driven organizations to work together with their “rival” to advance God’s purposes. Six Colorado-based nonprofits with international, national and local influence were invited to come together for a special evening with Peter and Chris designed to foster a spirit of collaboration over competition through a unique “reverse Shark Tank” experience. The organizations were chosen for their scope of influence (two international, two national, two local), best-in-class legacy and past relationship through funding with givers.

In front of an audience of their 20 top donors and a group of NCF and WaterStone givers, each nonprofit was paired with what could be considered a rival organization: similar target donor audiences, missions, etc. Several weeks prior to the event, the paired missions engaged over a series of phone calls to learn and understand one another’s vision, mission and work. The paired organization were: Colorado Uplift & ACE Scholarships, supporting the success of urban youth in Denver, Col.;  Promise Keepers and New Canaan Society, focusing on men’s ministry; and Hope Haven Rwanda & Musana Uganda, promoting family and education in Africa. 

Each organization’s President and/or CEO had five minutes to share or “pitch” the great aspects of the work their rival organization is doing to an audience of their top donors – a potentially risky endeavor. Unlike Shark Tank, there is no winning pitch. The win is an inspiration and encouragement to overcome the typical scarcity mindset and work together for the same goal: to advance God’s kingdom, not theirs. The hope was that the paired organizations would discover ways they could join hands to help one another long term, including identifying potential donors that are an appropriate fit.

Acting in abundance

The organizations brought extraordinary care and dedication to sharing the story of their “rival.” Hope Haven Rwanda and their rival Musana Uganda were so passionate about sharing from their heart what’s actually happening on the ground, they went so far as to visit each other’s campus to see, hear and experience best practices first hand. Furthermore, they have already started collaborating together in Africa! Praise God for witnessing the abundance mindset at work!

“Hope Haven Rwanda is an organization my family works closely with. To see them participate in this event was an incredible experience,” said NCF giver Shannon Wagner. 

“To watch abundance triumph over scarcity at Converge was inspiring,” adds Shannon’s husband Brian. “NCF is so great about encouraging givers to seek their passions to engage in giving, and providing ways to expose givers to different organizations and opportunities. They truly live out the abundance mentality.”  

The evening was a delightful opportunity to collectively consider what might be possible if we were more strategic in our collaboration. How will you change your mindset from scarcity to abundance this week? 


If you’d like your own copy of Rooting for Rivals, let us know! We’d love to gift you a book over a cup of coffee.