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Identify who relevant partners would be in your own setting

Types of Partnerships There are many types of partnerships, such as those among community-based nonprofits or among nonprofits and corporations. The factors that partners must weigh and the structures they establish will vary depending on the kinds of organizations involved and the types of relationships they choose to have.

CHAPTER 1: The Meaning of Partnership

In recent years, there has been an increased interest in partnerships that focus on community improvement. Agencies at the Federal and state levels, universities, corporations, and national nonprofits have all provided support to partnerships that have the capacity to produce community impacts.

Partnerships fall into different categories. Diverse organizations often join forces to achieve shared goals around capacity building and community improvement. Several types of partnerships are described below: In community-based partnerships, decision-making should be inclusive and deeply engage the community itself. Cross-sector partnerships are fairly simple to initiate but challenging to maintain. Regardless of the goodwill of the participants, two very different organizational cultures must come together to produce results.

One key is to find common ground and use shared language that underscores the vision of the partners.

Partnerships between donors and recipients can create confusion. Is the partnership just about receiving money? This type of partnership actually aims to take advantage of what the recipient, as well as the donor, can bring to the relationship. For instance, this might include local expertise, on-site workers, or clarification of priorities and constraints. Together, both sides must define the terms of the relationship. Partnerships can also be classified by their primary characteristics.

This list of partnership types might help you determine what kind of relationship you want to establish. Collaboration involves great autonomy and no permanent organizational identify who relevant partners would be in your own setting or combined services.

Cost-sharing occurs when each organization provides different resources, such as facilities, staff, or equipment.

Grant-match occurs when one organization provides a grant and the recipient provides a match in services, cash, maintenance, supplies, or volunteers. Forming Partnerships As opportunities arise, organizations need practical advice on whether or not to form strategic partnerships, and, if so, where to begin the partnership development process.

When considering a potential partnership, you may have questions such as: What benefits can a partnership provide? What organizations should we consider partnering with? How do we get a partnership process underway?

The first step in developing a partnership is to define the need for a partnership. The second step is to start the process.

The third step is to set up and maintain the partnership. Remember—a partnership should not be the end in itself, but, instead, a means to an end. Therefore, establishing a partnership may not always be the appropriate decision for meeting your goals.

The first step in partnership formation is to define the need for a partnership. The goal in partnerships is to achieve more than individual organizations can achieve on their own. In other words, the whole of the partnership is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Identifying self-interest is a critical part of this first step. In defining the need for a partnership, you should think not only about what the partnership can accomplish as a whole, but also about the concrete benefits to your organization in particular.

Each potential partner should answer the following questions and discuss their answers together: What are our short-term interests? What does our organization need to accomplish or gain in the next 12 months to stay engaged in the partnership? What are our long-term interests?

What does our organization need to accomplish or gain in the next 18-36 months to stay engaged in the partnership? Possible answers might include additional organizational members or volunteers; enhanced products or services; greater community credibility or support; and improved access to businesses, agencies, or foundations.

Identify who relevant partners would be in your own setting

The second step in partnership formation is to start the process. Partnerships have to be developed and nurtured in ways that respect and recognize all individuals. Building relationships is not just the responsibility of organizational leaders, but of everyone working in the partnership.

This may seem obvious, but very few groups perform this fundamental requirement necessary for valuing and respecting the individual partners. The stages of developing a partnership can be compared to the stages of team development—forming, storming, norming, and performing. Forming involves bringing people together to start the partnership-building process.

In the next stage, after the group has met several times, people start to question the purpose and direction of the partnership e. Norming is the stage in which the partners begin to develop protocols and reach shared agreements. Performing is when the partners are working together smoothly and accomplishing their objectives.

The third step in partnership formation is setting up and maintaining the partnership. There can often be ambiguity or conflict regarding the division of responsibility between the partnership and individual partners. Partners may be reluctant to delegate authority to the partnership. This document sets out the key objectives, procedures, structure, and outcomes of the partnership.

It also gives the partnership some structure and boundaries to work within, while allowing flexibility for change and growth. One issue to consider is how the partners should behave in the relationship.

  • Monitoring and evaluation also helps partners anticipate changes that may affect the partnership so they can collaboratively plan for the implications of such change;
  • Together, both sides must define the terms of the relationship.

Obviously, cooperation is the ideal. But what should you do if a partner does not cooperate or fulfill commitments in a timely manner? The work of actively managing a partnership can be supported by partnership norms and communication structures.

Norms are informal agreements about how group members will behave and work together. Communication structures are practical guidelines and frameworks that help individuals and groups hold productive discussions, manage conflict, and reach decisions. For example, partners might use a specific process for having open dialogue about difficult topics.

Norms and communication structures are useful tools for promoting healthy communication in partnerships. Partnership norms can foster healthy work relationships.

  • What are our short-term interests?
  • Partnership norms are only effective when all members of the group agree on the shared values.

Successful partnerships are managed by people who recognize the importance of cultivating healthy working relationships. Creating and following partnership norms is an effective way to maintain healthy working relationships. Partnership norms are informal guidelines on how partnership members will behave and interact with one another. These four steps will help you implement partnership norms. Identify the shared values of the group. Then, as a group, decide on what your shared values and norms will be.

Partnership norms must be agreed upon by all members of the group. Document partnership norms and make them easily accessible. Based on your shared values, write statements that will serve as guidelines for behavior and how the group will work together.

Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together

For example, if your partnership places a value on participant attendance at partnership meetings, a suggested norm might read: We will attend all partnership meetings regularly. I will notify members in advance if I must miss a meeting. I will ask another member of the group to debrief me within one week of missing any meetings. Consider posting your partnership norms on a shared website or virtual workspace. Communicate the norms regularly. Consider creating laminated cards or fact sheets that can be distributed to members.

You might also consider attaching a copy of partnership norms with all meeting notes or posting them in the meeting rooms. Update the norms as needed.

Partnership norms are only effective when all members of the group agree on the shared values. Use communication structures to facilitate open discussion. Open, honest communication is a cornerstone of good partnerships. It can be built by creating communication norms and using structures for facilitated discussion. To facilitate discussion is to be intentionally conscious of a framework for use in dialogue. Successful partnerships use consistent communication norms in every interaction and meeting.

They engage in open dialogue within established parameters and allow for healthy conflict.

  • Partnership norms are informal guidelines on how partnership members will behave and interact with one another;
  • Ensure your collaborative work plans have these key characteristics;
  • Communicate the norms regularly;
  • The most essential element is having a skillful facilitator and at least one alternate.

Below are some suggestions for building strong communication. Hire a consultant to train all staff and partners on facilitation techniques. Build proficiency in two or more leaders who develop understanding of at least one proven model of communication and commit to using that model. Each of the following books contains a practical communication framework: Participate in Courage to Lead workshops. The most essential element is having a skillful facilitator and at least one alternate.

Facilitators must be able to uphold the decided-on norms and dialogue framework. All participants must agree to the norms and be willing to hold each other accountable. Through facilitated communication, partnership members must learn how to engage in productive conflict, which is necessary in order for the group to implement community-wide solutions.