Independent Learning

Evaluating Alliances

Completing this framework will help you answer the following questions, helping you assess a partnership’s mutual obligations and benefits, and assess whether the partnership is worth the substantial time, resources, and effort it will require for success.

  1. Compatibility: Do the potential partners have a common social goal?
  2. Give: What strengths, assets, skills, and resources can my organization commit to?
  3. Receive: What strengths, assets, skills, and resources can the partner commit to?
  4. Pool/Create: What benefit will result if both sides meet their commitment?

What is this tool exactly?

Used by social impact leaders to assess the value of a potential or existing partnership, this framework helps all parties understand the benefits and obligations of a mutual undertaking. Complete this sheet as the basis for a focused stakeholder meeting, a partnership implementation plan, or a presentation for board approval. Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, an urban planner, teaches this framework alongside Asset-Based Community Development in our executive course on Community and Collaboration.

Who should be involved?

Members of organization who are responsible for assessing mission-alignment of the partnership, or securing organizational resources to carry out any commitments made, should drive this effort. Include stakeholders to ensure that the social benefit created is a social benefit needed.

How long should it take to complete?

20 Minutes

Where can I learn more?
  1. In “Arts and Non-arts Partnerships: Opportunities, Challenges and Strategies“, Chris Walker identifies four sources of partnership failure: capacity risk, commitment risk, culture risk, and the partnership tax. The Urban Institute. 2003
  2. In “Simple Rules for Making Alliances Work”, Jonathan Hughes and Jeff Weiss offer five principles for successful alliances. Harvard