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.