Sometimes successful collaboration needs a little inspiration. It can come in the form of a new process or strategy...or as an inspiring non-profit professional named Ryan Schwartz.

As a community leader and established freelancer, Ryan actively searches for creative methods to foster collaboration within his business. As more teams work exclusively online, it is even more crucial to strengthen your communication skills, listen attentively and express appreciation when collaborating with others. Here are Ryan’s top three tips for getting in sync and developing connectivity with clients and colleagues online and off:

1. Have empowering conversations

According to Ryan, effective dialogue is the foundation for creating empowering relationships. Conversations can create openings for innovation and steps toward action: "No matter if you’re in a for-profit or a non-profit, you’ve got to share a compelling vision that people feel."

When speaking with fellow collaborators, actively make a point of listening and building assurances: "My job is to figure out who non-profits need to reach, what those people need to hear, and how they need to hear it, so that we build successful movements. I help them find their voice and communicate in ways that move people to take action. This all begins with a conversation."

In order for your team to overcome obstacles and create sustainable change together, you’ll need to actively listen to them. This also means acknowledging their efforts and showing your appreciation for their unique contributions.

2. Prioritize camaraderie

Camaraderie within a team provides a strong sense of purpose and encourages engagement. As a member of LightBox Collaborative, Ryan works with a group of like-minded non-profit strategists.

"Together, we work on projects bigger than any one of us could do alone, and offer trainings and blog content that helps strengthen the market for all of us. Everyone has a niche; collaboration allows us to do exactly what we’re best at and deliver the most value to our clients."

3. Doing it yourself is fine, but doing it together is better

As a Freelancers Union member and Portland resident, Ryan's mindset has quickly shifted from "Do It Yourself" to "Do It Ourselves" (how New Mutualist of him). He is always looking for ways to collaborate in order to enhance the lives of others.

"No matter what you are passionate about, there is a community to learn and grow with. Whether it's developing a business, building a table, climbing a mountain, or raising chickens, people are passionate about sharing knowledge and skills."

Interested in learning more? Check out Ryan’s webpage right here: www.hummingbirdink.com.