Sunday, 16 March 2014

How do you know your partnership is making a difference?

This is a question I have been trying to answer for the past few weeks (if not years!).

Whilst doing some research I found the following resource from the University of Wisconsin:

http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/G3658-8.PDF

Even though it was written 16 years ago it is one of the best pieces of guidance I have come across for evaluating the processes and effectiveness of partnerships and collaborations; have a look.

Two of the areas covered by the manual stick in my mind:
  1. The use of 'if/then' modelling to plan out what your partnership is going to do and the effects you expect it to have, which can then be compared with what actually happens as your partnership progresses and goes about its work.
  2. Breaking down the concept of outcomes, the effects you want your partnership to have on people, the environment and situation etc., into immediate, intermediate and long term outcomes. This creates and highlights an audit trail of effects that can be traced back to the activities of your partnership, so adding credibility to your claims that it is directly contributing to positive impacts.
The second point is particularly important if your partnership has a 'Payments by Results' contract with a client. This type of contract, in the UK at least, is becoming increasingly common.  
For more about collaboration go to: Sleeping-with-the-Enemy-Achieving-Collaborative-Success-2nd-Edition

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