The report, Collaborating for Impact, says there are four preconditions for successful collaboration: ensuring that both parties understand how it benefits their beneficiaries; having a clear understanding of the financial implications; understanding and demonstrating impact; and having an organisational culture that allows trust and overcomes barriers to working together.
It says charities are particularly keen to collaborate to deliver public service but "many organisations are not prepared for the challenges that accompany such partnerships, and that this can lead to collaborations failing, draining resources and potentially damaging a charity’s reputation".
The report also calls on commissioners to create a supportive environment, to ensure tendering processes give charities sufficient time to develop a working relationship and to set a fair price for the work that allows for surplus and growth.
Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC, said collaboration was "no walk in the park".
"This report underlines the importance of ensuring that any partnerships start with shared aims and a cultural match, for without that it will all end in tears," he said.
"Collaboration is no panacea, but when we get it right the benefits can be felt throughout the sector."