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  • Overview - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    to accomplish far more than what might be possible working alone Although there may be added value in working with other organizations the benefits of effective partnerships don t occur overnight Establishing successful partnerships takes time It s important for you to create the right framework from the start and review the structure and process of the partnership on an ongoing basis to measure its success or failure At the end of this lesson you will be able to identify key components of partnerships recognize different types of partnerships identify the steps for establishing partnerships and recognize methods for managing partnerships Organizational partnerships can have many benefits As pressures on community based organizations increase and the issues faced by our society become more complex the idea of cross organization partnerships can hold much promise Through partnerships we can contribute our part and also reap the benefits of others efforts We can accelerate learning and distribute skills and knowledge Also we can add depth and breadth to our community impact In this e learning lesson you will learn about the typical components found in effective partnerships the different forms that partnerships can take the steps to establishing effective partnerships and how

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=0 (2016-02-12)
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  • 1 - The Meaning of Partnership - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    in mind Leadership Partnerships imply a shared leadership among respected individuals who are recognized and empowered by their own organizations to build consensus and resolve conflicts However one organization will generally take the lead on managing the process Partners must have trust in each others ability to lead effectively and honestly Common Understanding Partners need to understand each other s organizational framework culture values and approach Partners also need a clear understanding of individual members roles responsibilities and what the partnership s division of labor will be Purpose Partnerships must be guided by a shared vision and purpose that builds trust and recognizes the value and contribution of all members Each partner must understand and accept the importance of the agreed upon goals This leads to improved coordination of policies programs and service delivery Shared and transparent decision making processes are also essential as partners work towards their common purpose Culture and Values Shared can do values mutual understanding and an acceptance of differences e g norms ways of working are essential to successful partnerships Partners need to discuss their organizational cultures to identify how to work with their strengths and weaknesses When partners respect each other s contributions and regard each other as equals they can gain active involvement from organization representatives who will play a valued role in the partnership Learning and Development A healthy partnership promotes an atmosphere of learning This may involve monitoring and evaluation aimed at improving members performance An open mindset and the desire to invest in partners skills and knowledge will create opportunities to shape each other s work and learn together In this environment members can reflect honestly on both successes and failures Communication If a partnership is going to succeed there must be effective communication at all levels within the partnership

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=1 (2016-02-12)
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  • 2 - Types of Partnerships - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    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 Partnerships among community based nonprofit service organizations Cross sector partnerships between nonprofits and the business government and or academic sectors Partnerships between donor organizations and recipients When community based nonprofits join forces each organization must have the organizational capacity necessary to manage projects budgets and staff involvement 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 Donors can t coerce recipients for the sake of obtaining resources into doing things they don t want to do 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 commitments or combined services

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=2 (2016-02-12)
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  • 3 - Forming Partnerships - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    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 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 It s also important at the initial stages to agree on a set of ground rules for 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 It s important that all members help determine the partnership goals structure and processes from the onset In the next stage after the group has met several times people start to question the purpose and direction of the partnership e g Why am I here What s my role Do we have the right priorities It s important to work through this storming stage so the group can be open and honest about their perceptions Norming

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=3 (2016-02-12)
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  • 4 - Norms and Communication Structures - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    resource management decision making conflict resolution and or meetings Take time to listen to each person s perspective on each topic 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 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 Using we will or I will statements can help create ownership of the partnership norms Once your norms are documented make sure they re easily accessible to everyone in the group Consider posting your partnership norms on a shared website or virtual workspace Communicate the norms regularly By communicating your partnership norms frequently you emphasize people s accountability to the group s shared values 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 As your partnership adds or loses members it s important to revisit your partnership norms But even if you maintain the same members throughout the relationship it s necessary to review and assess your norms based on the current stage of your partnership Partnership norms are only effective when all members of the group agree on the shared values This template can help you develop

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=4 (2016-02-12)
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  • 5 - Managing the Partnership with Work Plans and Technology - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    the partnership or a specific initiative within the partnership Good work plans have the following characteristics Establish buy in Although collaborative work plans document the work breakdown for your specific tasks they alone cannot motivate people to action Increase your success rate by first establishing buy in for the plan from the members of your work group Are realistic It s important to be realistic when developing a collaborative work plan People want to see progress no matter how incremental Stay within the scope of your project Have measurable outcomes Consider developing immediate short term and long term outcomes for your collaborative work plan Identify how you will determine the success of your activities and efforts What indicators will you measure Hold people accountable Communicate group accountability and interdependence of activities Show how people s specific tasks impact the completion of the overall task Having an effective structure for open honest communication can support conversations about accountability as issues arise It can be tempting to let the lead organization serve as the center for collaborative work However when all partners host meetings facilitate gatherings or provide training to other partners responsibility is shared by all members This in turn increases feelings of ownership and long term commitment to the partnership This worksheet can help you develop a collaborative work plan Click this link to download a worksheet that can help your partnership build a collaborative work plan You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Some of these technology platforms can help you manage your partnerships Technology platforms that support online collaboration vary in terms of the depth of collaboration their systems allow These platform categories include Methods for distributing information such as websites and electronic newsletters Systems for collaborating such as electronic mailing lists and

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=5 (2016-02-12)
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  • 6 - Partnership Challenges and Evaluation - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    both types of issues Successful partnerships select someone to serve as a dedicated partnership manager This individual is responsible for the partnership s relationship management A partnership manager might support healthy relationships by coordinating communication between partners ensuring adherence to norms and collaboration processes spotting potential conflicts mediating disputes and tracking the health of the working relationship over time All partnerships need an ongoing process to monitor both substantive and relationship issues Broad evaluation questions might include Is the partnership meeting its aims and objectives How well is it performing and What lessons can be learned There are various challenges to sustaining effective partnerships It helps to anticipate potential barriers to working effectively with your partners Some barriers are substantive which means they involve financial strategic or technical issues Other challenges are relationship oriented These issues might relate to leader compatibility degree of trust joint problem solving capacity or conflict resolution ability Other challenges that partnerships may face include turf battles among stakeholders clashes between different organizational cultures rigid policies regarding intellectual property disputes over private sector engagement inappropriate staffing and role assignments the ups and downs of community politics and member burnout As the partnership evolves partners must identify whatever barriers exist and work together to resolve them Effective partnerships use monitoring and evaluation processes Partnerships need to create methods for evaluating and revising aims and objectives This means providing opportunities to learn what has been successful and what has not and to build these lessons into revised plans Formal performance management processes such as clarifying performance expectations and providing feedback also contribute to partnership monitoring and evaluation In addition it s important to monitor and report on the health of the working relationship between partners through use of a formal mechanism This helps identify simmering conflict negative perceptions

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=6 (2016-02-12)
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  • 7 - Partnership Transitions and Endings - Partnerships: Frameworks for Working Together
    the best course of action Just as launching a partnership requires broad thinking ending one does too Even during endings it s important to maintain a collaborative mindset that considers the well being of the partnership as a whole not just each organization s separate interests Transition and closure are natural stages in a partnership Every partnership must eventually consider issues of transition and ending Some partnerships may use this time to renew goals and commitments Others may find that it s time to let certain organizational partners go or end the partnership altogether Have an open and honest discussion with your partners to understand when the partnership is transitioning into a stage of renewal or ending Every partnership relationship is unique What motivates one organization or individual to continue working collaboratively might be very different from what motivates another In some instances one organization may want to leave the partnership In this case you can discuss what would need to change to hold everyone s interests Perhaps the disinterest is an early warning sign that others are feeling the same way In other situations it may be in the best interests of both the partner and the partnership as a whole to allow the organization to leave on appropriate terms Ultimately partnerships are effective only when all members see a value in continuing their participation and can willingly work together to achieve the common purpose Although partnerships need closure this step is often missed Too often partnerships end with a hard stop without substantial communication between members Or they might terminate without a real ending gradually dwindling down without formally closing out Make sure to discuss plan for and openly acknowledge the departure of a member organization or the formal ending of your partnership Partnership closure is an opportunity

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/partnerships/default.aspx?chp=7 (2016-02-12)
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