Partnership Tool: Setting Expectations

Setting Partnership ExpectationsCongratulations! You’re forming a new partnership to support your nonprofit’s work. Here is a set of questions to help you and your partner establish expectations for your work together.  In advance of your first meeting (or at it), either individually or together, answer the questions. Take notes so that you can measure your progress and catch conflicts before they grow into a rupture.

    1. What is the goal (or goals) of the partnership?
    2. Why is this goal important to your organization? Why will my board, staff, volunteers, and donors support it?
    3. What measurable signs can we anticipate when we achieve the goal? That is, what will success look like? (Go beyond any first easy answers.)
    4. Estimate the time frame it will take to complete this goal.
    5. How many meetings and total hours do you anticipate?
    6. To make the goals a reality, who needs to be part of the partnership? Are you missing any key people? If so, whom? Do they share the goals above? What’s in it for them?
    7. How will we reward people for helping us to succeed? Are there any rewards for failure that need removal?
    8. I will take the following actions to develop or enhance trust in this partnership:
    9. The following are three signs of my organization’s commitment to this partnership:

For help evaluating a partnership, use this tool.

To identify potential supporters, including new partners, use this helpful process tool.

If you’re considering a merger with this new partner, use this.

Karen Eber Davis

Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.