Engaging in partnerships
We often achieve more when we work with others. Many organisations say that their best partnerships have created opportunities and results never imagined when they started working together.
Kinds of partnership
There are many forms of partnership. For the purpose of this document, we are referring to a relationship which endures for a period ranging from a few months to several years.
Partnerships often develop between community organisations in the same sector working together to deliver better services, share facilities or combine administration functions.
Community-business partnerships develop when a community organisation works with private business to raise funds, build capacity, share work spaces, increase opportunities, improve outcomes or achieve other goals.
Community organisations can also form partnerships with public sector agencies. This is most common at local government level however they are also developed at State or Federal level.
Working well together
Good partnerships often have:
- Support by the leadership of both partners
- Mutual understanding and respect
- Alignment of organisational values and culture
- Careful and thorough planning
- Well understood objectives for all parties and the partnership, as well as the resources required
- Clear, open and regular communication throughout the partnership
- Clarity on roles, responsibilities, goals and boundaries as well as criteria for success and how each party will exit the partnership when the time comes
- Commitment and honesty
- Shared responsibilities, contributions and benefits
- Don’t rush the beginning stage – take time getting to know each other
- Start small. Tackle manageable objectives together first before taking on bigger ones
- Build ownership of the partnership across all levels of both organisations
- Each partner should agree on issues such as requirements and responsibilities for risk and insurance
- Decide who will communicate with the media
- Be willing to learn and adapt as the partnership develops
- Make time to communicate regularly
- Look out for ways to add value to the partnership.
- Remember that business, government and community sectors can have different cultures relating to time and priorities
- Express appreciation and communicate benefits