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Partnering and Partnership: Lessons Learned in the DI

Devonshire Initiative
The Devonshire Initiative has synthesized lessons learned from workshops, affiliate organization resources, and documents in the public domain related to cross-sector partnerships.

Due Diligence: Strong partnerships start with a strong foundation established through the due diligence process. Some lessons learned on due diligence are:

  • Know why you and the potential partner are interested in partnering
  • Get to know each other’s organizations
  • Build personal relationships and ensure there are common values and shared objectives

Communication: Strong communication is key in maintaining a strong relationship throughout the life of a partnership. Some lessons learned on communication are:

  • Communicate drivers, interests, and wants with the partner
  • Understand that partners don’t always communicate in the same ways
  • Communicate about the partnership with everyone in the organization

Evaluating Partnerships: Partnership evaluation is an ongoing process through the life of the partnership. Some lessons learned on evaluating partnerships are:

  • Use evaluations to continue improving the partnership
  • Don’t focus only on tangible and measurable benefits
  • Discuss boundaries and what is included in the evaluation

Strengthening Partnerships: This will help best ensure success of the partnership. Some lessons learned on strengthening partnerships are:

  • Formalize the agreement, establish timelines, make commitments
  • Establish good governance and accountability protocols
  • Commit adequate human resources to the partnership

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