Maintaining Partnerships

Healthy and strong partnerships provide the foundation of many community interventions and initiatives. In order to achieve long-term goals, it is essential to continually maintain and improve your partnership. Setting aside time and effort to preserve your partnership will allow you and your partners to adapt to changes along the way. In addition, you will be able to keep your partnership on track and continue to work toward achieving your goals. This will result in a more effective and productive partnership that will survive long into the future.

momentumAt some point, partnership members may decide to formalize the partnership and may require legal advice to help determine the most appropriate organizational structure for the partnership. This may also lead you and your partners to consider hiring management and administrative staff to assist with planning, implementation, and evaluation activities. Hiring paid staff may require additional funding as well as other resources such as office space and equipment.

The following are a few tips for maintaining your partnerships:

    •  Maintain and formalize the organizational structure created for your intervention. The following are some examples of general types of organizations:
    • A government-sanctioned organization. Structuring your partnership in this way may increase your group’s credibility in the community and give it legal authority and fiscal status to conduct certain activities.
    • A community network or coalition. This form of organizational structure may allow you to more accurately identify community needs and to gain greater community support for your group’s activities. In addition, structuring your group in this way may allow you the flexibility to engage in a variety of activities without being restricted by any one organization’s rules and regulations. Creating a memorandum of understanding that outlines the expectations of each partner and coalition by-laws may provide more formal structure for partner interactions.
  • Create local awareness of and support for the partnership.
  • Bring in new partners.
  • Ensure that all members are participating in partnership activities.
  • Encourage shared leadership and decision-making.
  • Develop a strong sense of group identity.

Keeping your partnership and the initiatives you sponsor alive and thriving requires your group to be flexible in responding to changing conditions without losing your capacity to harness the collective expertise members have gained by working together. Remember to celebrate your partnership’s accomplishments and to honor the contributions of each member.

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