A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Last Revised: Sep 25, 2015 - Initial Posting: Aug 15, 2007

Community Action, Inc. developed a Partnership Tracking Tool to document the types of relationships that are established by the agency with outside groups and organizations.


Partnership and Affiliations Tracking ToolsKS_Community_Action_Inc._Partnerships_Tracking_Tool

Community Action, Inc. created a Partnership Tracking Tool as a mechanism to:

  • Report partnerships to governing bodies, funding sources and others
  • Evaluate the scope and depth of partnerships
  • Evaluate the use of staff time

The term “partnership” is defined as an intentional relationship based on mutual trust, openness, shared risk and shared rewards that yields an advantage for constituents through the provision of services greater than would be achieved by the entities individually.

Three types of partnerships are identified:

  • Type I – Partner recognition, activities and planning coordinated on a limited basis, risks are minimal, focus is short term and may be related to a project or event.
  • Type II – Each contributes financial or intellectual resources.  Focus is long term.
  • Type III – Significant level of integration is shared; no “end” date is foreseen.  Risks are shared.  Entities are dependent upon one another for success.

Various types of relationships are included:

  • Contract or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • Grantor
  • Sub-Grantee
  • Verbal Collaborative Agreement

Additional data is maintained for each partnership including the geographic area affected, specific identification of faith-based partnerships, and agency department, as well as the ROMA Goal Advanced by the Partnership, involved with the partnership.

Agency and staff member relationships that do not meet the definition of a partnership are inventoried through use of an Affiliations Tracking Tool.  Data is maintained on the level of agency involvement as a member or in a leadership capacity, as well as identification of affiliations with faith-based groups.

Community Action updates the document annually.  Information from the tracking tools is used as part of the agency’s strategic planning process and a review of the updated document helps guide the development of the agency’s annual management (work) plan.

Other Resources

A variety of other resources are available to help promote the development of effective partnerships and collaborative efforts.  These include:

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Partnership Tool Kit

The Community Partnership Tool Kit was developed for building and maintaining partnerships to strengthen communities.  Each of tools in this kit was developed and tested by seven local organizations working in ten communities. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded the projects to find ways to stop the erosion of family and community life which traditional programs had proven unable to do.  The more the ten communities focused on understanding issues facing today’s families and neighborhoods, the more evident the need became for a new more comprehensive way of thinking about program interventions.

The Tool Kit includes:

  • Picking the Right Tools – From respecting neighborhood priorities to recognizing the power of spirituality, people need to pick the right tool to address the needs in their communities. Each of the ten tools in this kit represents a principle for building successful partnerships.
  • Sharpening the Tools – Experiences in ten communities
  • Mastering the Tools – Detailed information for each partnership building tool
  • Neighborhood Priorities – Creating a Common Vision, Conducting Community-Driven Needs Assessments, Mapping Community Resources, Conducting a Search Conference, Using Storytelling to Identify Neighborhood Priorities
  • Accessibility – Providing Child Care, Establishing Diverse Points of Contact, Establishing Strategic Marketing Plans, Being Community Friendly
  • Capacity Building – Providing Training Opportunities for Staff and Community Members, Structuring Social Supports for Community Members, Supporting Community Economic Capacity
  • Collaborative Relationships – Establishing a Shared Vision, Developing a Collaborative Strategic Plan, Determining Meeting Rules, Building Consensus About Decision-Making
  • Including – Providing Diversity Training, Assessing Organizational Cultural Competence, Offering Opportunities for Cultural Celebrations, Exploring Issues of Power
  • Neighborhood Governance – Encouraging Community Input, Force Field Analysis/Identifying Driving and Restraining Forces, Using Focus Groups/Creating Community Dialogue, Using Study Circles (Study Circles Resource Center)
  • Shared Responsibility/Accountability – Using Empowerment or Participatory Evaluation, Facilitating Community Commitment/Volunteering, Honoring and Building Relationships/Mutual Help Groups
  • Sustainability – Devising a Media Strategy for Sustained Growth, Managing Recruitment, Training and Retention of Volunteers, Finding Funding Sources
  • Leadership Development – Exploring Leadership Models, Developing a Leadership Work Plan, Developing Team-Building Skills, Learning to Manage Change
  • Spirituality – Respecting Community Members as They Explore Their Spiritual Paths, Supporting Staff Explorations of Spirituality, Respecting Diverse Spiritual/Religious Practices

Working Together: Nonprofit Collaborations, Alliances, and Integrations Improve Performance and Advance Missions

Advice for Collaborating Nonprofits was a theme for one of the Aspen Institute’s newsletters.  Topics featured include Meeting the Challenges of Collaboration, Factors Identified as Promoting Successful Partnerships, Collaboration Difficulties, and Strategic Restructuring: Alliances and Integrations.

Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships

The Independent Sector offers guidance on key factors for effective Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships including five major principles on overcoming the challenges involved in building effective partnerships and motivations for partnering.

The National Council on Aging has compiled a Resource List in support of efforts to build nonprofit-corporate partnerships.

Partnership Assessment Tool

Free to Grow, a national Head Start demonstration program, features Collaboration as an important component for groups to join forces in meeting community goals.  It’s noted that collaboration is not, in fact, an end unto itself -- but rather a means of devising and implementing a strategy which could not be carried out without the engagement and resources of all those brought to the table.

A Partnership Assessment Tool developed by the Center for the Advancement of Collaborative Strategies in Health (CACSH) can be used to assess the success of collaborative efforts.  Up until May 24, 2006, online registration enabled submission of data for compilation by CACSH.  The materials, however, are still useful as a way to recognize issues to be considered in the formation and success of collaborative relationships:


Building a wide range of effective partnerships is the basis for National Goal 4: Partnerships Among Supporters and Providers of Services to Low-Income People Are Achieved.


Tawny Stottlemire, Executive Director