The Partnership Ingredient in Networking

What is "partnership"?

     Partnership has been a term used in many official and unofficial documentation without clear definition, and is often highlighted as a key ingredient in the process of networking.

     However, the term "partnership" can be defined as "collaborative activities among interested groups based on a mutual recognition of respective strengths and weaknesses for common agreed objectives developed through effective and timely communication".

     A "partnership" occurs where groups with common objectives agree to undertake activities which build on each other's strengths, and help overcome apparent weaknesses, for the purposes of implementing given objectives that have been agreed to by the groups involved. Overcoming apparent weaknesses may involve a sharing of expertise, knowledge or experience by one or more groups. The objectives are usually developed through a process of communication that is acceptable to all groups involved. 'Groups' may include NGOs, local governments, corporations, national governments etc.

Some of the factors that lead to successful partnerships include:
  • Partnerships are formed among organizations, but succeed because of individuals
  • A successful partnership usually has a strong leader who champions the partnership projects and goals with vision, energy, and enthusiasm.
  • The people directly affected by a partnership goal are usually the ones most willing and able to work for it.
  • Shared agendas, joint decision-making, and mutual benefit constitute a partnership; money facilitates the projects.
  • Senior level support lets a partnership operate easily within the rest of the organization and displays the organizations commitment to other partners and to the general public.
  • Organizations must be willing to share responsibility and should enter partnerships with the intention of being an active part of the process.

The Five "I"s of Partnership:
  • Identify - Who are the potential partners?
  • Interest - Do you share common interests?
  • Inform - Provide them with information on the partnership project
  • Involve - Invite them to participate
  • Invest - Ask for their support, including funding and/or labour.

Keywords associated with partnership

affiliation, alliance, association, coalition, collaboration, communication, consensus, cooperation, information sharing, interaction, participation, understanding, etc.

Hari Srinivas -
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