My favourite thing about the charity sector is how willing we are to share. Rather than working in secret like the finance or tech sectors, we're so willing let other people copy our homework. I still remember the first fundraising conference I went to where a charity talked me through exactly how they did their regular giving programme. I clutched my chest the whole way home like I'd found the real life equivalent to the 'motherlode' cheat in Sims, which provides infinite money. The Prospectus Purposeful Partnerships breakfast a few weeks ago gave me that same feeling. Mohini Raichura-Brown, spoke about how UNICEF build better partnerships... and just like the Sims, it's all about building house.
It all starts with the foundations!
Any great house has solid foundations. And great foundations... don't come apart. So it's crucial that you and your partner are on the same page from the word go. The most important question is: why are we doing this partnership? If you can get this shared vision down to a single sentence, you'll always have a solid basis for conversation. With the groundwork done, you can build. Next, you need some windows... (Let's not look too much into the physics of this house...) With a shared definition of what success looks like, it's important to give each partner a window into the other organisation. To achieve this, Mohini and her team will meet the partner and ask one question: what will you measure to prove to your bosses that this partnership is a success? Both teams write their answers on a piece of paper, then they swap. This gives you a clear indicator as to what'll be most important - whether it's employee engagement or eyeballs on their brand.
Then you prop the roof up! With a really clear goal that you're trying to achieve (e.g. the vision with Domestos to 'win the war on poor sanitation') and a strong understanding of what both sides are measuring, you can build what Mohini calls 'the partnership pillars'. The individual activities that are going to get you to your goals - such as cause-related marketing and skilled volunteering opportunities.
If you're looking at the partnerships you manage and wondering how to get back to the foundations when you've already been co-habiting for the last year, don't panic!