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Community Partnerships by Mind Map: Community Partnerships
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Community Partnerships

Opportunity to connect

Coordinated planning


Expands reach of programs

Builds and restores fabric of community

Promotes ownership and institutionalization Integrates goals Increases support over the long haul with local resources Evolves structures and delivery mechanisms

Develops spokespersons for the effort

Reduces “Lone Ranger” initiatives

Expands the community’s ability to respond comprehensively to community needs

Employ participatory action research models.

Focus your energy on what you do best, and partner for the rest! Heart of West Michigan United Way

Access to new communities

Access to new revenue sources

(4) Design the Process

How the project starts

What's the vision?, Identify like-minded partners, What is/are the goal(s)? Are they realistic? No really, are they?, General, Specific, Create a shared vision, Think out of the box, Listen, Consider all perspectives, Develop shared principles to guide you, Write it down, exchange it often

Who's "at the table?", Any representative who is impacted by or has an impact on the partnership., Persons with a variety of experience with partnerships.

What methods will be used to meet the goal?, what else is needed?, Did you forget technology?, Are people TRAINED to accomplish the tasks..avoiding word-of-mouth skills assessments.

Who's eligible?

How and where and when are services offered?

Giving potential stakeholders the opportunity to provide input, and using that input to make the project better, builds the support or “buy-in” for your project or program.

Decide who is doing what.

Create volunteer position description to know the expectations of involvement

Always knowing next steps

Ownership of project ñ decide upfront:

• how this is negotiated

• who owns products coming out of the project, how theyíre used

who controls the money?

who gets credit?

Find ways to demonstrate results.

who could provide complementary services?

what’s said about the program to the community?

how is it evaluated?

how do we know it works?, Mutually defined "success," have a conversation...what would be a successful engagement, Sustainability of service


Discuss possible unanticipated outcomes.

Back-up planning should get just as much attention.

Who is the community partner in a college/community sustainable partnership? Define distinct needs of various participants ñ why might they want to participate? Who we approach e.g. school (teachers, etc) vs. parents makes a difference.


Faculty and Administrators

Community Based Org

REMEMBER: Citizens/Community Members

Principles of a Good Community Partnership

Agreed upon mission, values, goals, and measurable outcomes

The relationship between partners is characterized by mutual trust, respect, genuineness, and commitment

Strengths, assets, and need for improvement

Balance of power

Clear, open and accessible communication between partners

listening to needs

develop common language

validate/clarify meaning of terms

All partners provide input on roles, norms, and processes

Feedback to, among, and from all stakeholders in the partnership (goal to continuously improve

Making sure the hard questions are asked and all things are agreed upon in a "more than verbal" way.


Meeting notes, Follow up to confirm action items




(1) Think Strategically

Know the community

Consider all partnership opportunities, Identify community stakeholders, What is their existing relationship to the organization?, How are they related to each other?, What assets and issues do we know upfront?, Consider using foundations that support the community-based organizations

Know the communities history

Respect and acknowledge existing leadership

Community inventory to help residents identify their skills and talents

Use coordinated planning efforts

Know your organization

Identify self-interest

Universities, Culture, There is a lot of diversity within the university e.g. peoplesí roles, power, comfort with community involvement, disciplines, etc., Sometimes there is an overestimation of the degree of coordination within the institution, even by those within it, There are numerous levels of bureaucracy, The faculty reward system is complex, The calendar is based on units (semesters, trimesters, etc.), Faculty workloads include teaching as well as meetings, and research and professional activities, Can bring (assets), a knowledge of process, how we work on professional development, issues of education and knowledge, technical expertise -e.g. research skills, leadership development skills• quickly change curriculum, access to people with skills -e.g. economic development knowledge, access to physical resourcesÖsometimes -technology -buildings, multiple perspectives to the web of issues facing community agencies, our teaching skills - can ask the "right questions" and help people focus, conflict resolution skills, an independent and fresh perspective...sometimes, the next generation of staff, workers, administrators, etc., Can't (issues), act quickly, act alone, quickly change curriculum, change cycle of activities, provide unlimited resources, ensure stable/supportive leaders, change their reward system

What does your organization do well?

Is there fear about losing your identity?, Why might your identity (or others at your organization) be threatened by completing a good partnership strategy?

Is there concern about receiving credit or bearing blame?

Are there internal turn or trust issues that must be resolved?

Is your organization functioning effectively enough to withstand the pressure of (more) collaboration?

Plan for Existing Issues

Potential issues to discuss, Trust, Defining the problem(s) the partnership is supposed to address, Differences in values and missions, Ownership of project: • How itís negotiated • Who owns products coming out of the project, how theyíre used • Whoís involved in the planning and implementing, Assumptions that knowledge is unidirectional, Power, Differences in goals and expectations among stake holders, Communication including how needs and expectations are communicated, Environmental contexts • How the legitimacy of the work is acknowledged, in what contexts • Assumptions about the way(s) we conduct business: -Place -Size of groups -Language(s) -Comfort with speaking, Learn and understand the community's vocabulary, How "failures" and "successes" get handled?, Results • Higher ed.ís tolerance of impractical results • Communityís need to see resultsÖsomething!, Sustainability Issues • short term vs. long term • how lessons get used in planning, Influence of powerful funders and their expectations and issues, Common understanding, Communication, Lack of direction or goals, Lack of innovation, Missing documentation

Set Strategic Objectives & Prioritize Partnerships

These may change as more information is learned.

What gaps can be filled by working with another entity?

Define scope: organization/office/department

Benefits from sharing risks, responsibilities, resources, competencies and benefits

Opportunities for synergy

(2) Analyze and Plan

Using strategic objectives and priority stakeholders (community partners), investigate impact on your operations/activities/goals

What are the needs of your office/organization that matter?

What partnerships will add value or help meet these needs?, Start communication with stakeholders/community org, begins process of getting to know each other and gathering information, Share intention and perceived value in connecting with the community, Modes of Communication, Define what community issues are important and the larger issues connected to them., Needs, Who?, WHAT is needed?, By WHOM?, Concerns, Wants, Authority, Common Relationships, DO NOT enter the community with a predetermined agenda.

Be aware that a request is often seen an offer or commitment. Learn about the community and their connections within it. Be clear of how they can communicate with you and how the information will be used.

(3) Strengthen Engagement Capacities

Open discussion of past relationships

What’s worked

What’s been problematic

Systems they’ve developed to deal with conflict

Unresolved issues

How they establish trust, make decisions, etc.

Jointly define understanding of "partnership"

Relationship is reciprocal

the state or condition of being a partner; participation; association; joint interest. - Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

A relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal: Neighborhood groups formed a partnership to fight crime. - The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition 2009

• One seed today does not yield a full-blown harvest tomorrow. • Cultivation takes time. • Just like plants need attention, fertilization, soil aeration, stakeholders need the same care, feeding and space to move around. • Picking the fruit too early will yield an unripe result that will not be what it should be. • Patience and continued cultivation are key to spectacular results.

Mutuality vs. unbalanced power • Discuss areas of reciprocity: how to recognize what participants have to gain, what each will be responsible for

Partnerships with community agencies are formal, long-term relationships founded on collaboration and the clear articulation of needs, capacities, responsibilities and expectations.

Do they understand YOU?

Bring them to your world, have them visit.

Be conscious about who initiated the partnership and why. Do as much work on establishing the partnership as you do on setting up the project.

Establish the ground rules for the partnership., Be flexible. Acknowledge that different vehicles are needed to communicate and include participants e.g. location, language of meeting., Communicate: needs, expectations, goals throughout the project

Be clear about assumptions, check out perceptions, Be aware of diversity (sub-cultures, various constituencies)., Donít overestimate the internal coordination/collaboration of the other, Acknowledge differences in goals knowing that interests may be different among stakeholders. Set clear goals/expectations and be clear about priorities.

Identify potential barriers/road blocks

Spell out the ìresourcesî of each partner ñ what do they bring? Whatís off limits?

Stay aware of the environmental context

• Be sensitive to these issues and make partners comfortable with each other ís setting

• Acknowledge legitimacy of the work, in a variety of contexts

• Check assumptions about the way(s) business is conducted:, • Place, • Size of groups, • Language(s), • Comfort with speaking

Recognize that all parties have particular knowledge and need to be contributors.

Consider skills and capacities needed by both parties to address any gaps through training and education.

(5) Engage and Act

Carry out plan

Be aware of perceived power differences and facilitate (be facilitated) for fair participation.

Action in important to confirming your commitment in the eyes of the community

(6) Review, Report, and Celebrate

Share credit

Show appreciation to residents by recognizing their efforts and say thank you

Review for flexibility so a project can continue and happen again in the best way possible

Identify new learning and possible opportunities, putting it into action.

Develop and evolve over time

Types/Styles of Partnerships

Satellite office


Use of infratructure

Exchange of professional labor

So often focused on the students, what skills do the staff have. Can volunteering be done in a more professional way, Board of Directors, preparing graduating students for open positions, internships

Common Roles in Community Partnerships

Contact Person


Project Coordinator

Stakeholder Participants

Volunteer Recruitment