Key Tips & How-tos

Understand partnership options

Clarify expectations and potential roles and responsibilities

Jointly decide on responsibilities

Position to ensure win-win

Expect to spend time and effort

Document responsibilities in a written agreement

 

Understand partnership options

 

  • Think outside of the box. What works for one partnership does not always work for the next.  Don’t assume that the usual roles you have played in past partnerships are best for all of your collaborations.
  • Identify the strengths that you and your prospective partner bring to the table. Use this analysis to help you decide which organization is best equipped to handle the different program roles and responsibilities.
  • Realize that your partnership needs to be based on what is beneficial to all the involved organizations.

  • See: the Joint Planning Document/ Account Plan
    for a tool that can be used to guide discussions with potential partners about joint opportunities that address each party’s goals

 

Clarify expectations and potential roles and responsibilities

 

  • Meet with the key decision makers to discuss mutual expectations.
  • When possible, take advantage of any existing relationships you have within the potential partnering agency to help you expedite the process. For example, the AF Southern California Chapter was able to build upon a relationship with a long term instructor who, after becoming employed at Atria, helped spearhead negotiations to deliver the AF Exercise Program throughout Atria’s large network of senior living communities.

  • Learn more about the Southern California experience

 

 

Jointly decide on responsibilities

 

 

 


  • After assigning roles, develop a plan for accountability.
  • Accept that some partners will have different levels of commitment.
  • Do not over promise.

 

 Position to ensure win-win

 

  • While the focus should be on what the partner needs and what will be most advantageous to them, remember that ultimately the relationship needs to be a win-win for everyone. Do not be afraid to address your organization’s needs. These needs will be more acceptable if you can position them in terms of the potential partner’s needs. For example,  in addition to reaching more people with arthritis, these needs might include:

    • Ensuring the quality of the programs so that the partner’s constituents achieve maximum benefit;
    • Being able to cross-market other AF and state resources to program participants, providing more value-added benefits;
    • Ensuring the brand identity of the AF programs, which adds credibility to any agency that cosponsors the AF programs;
    • Sharing in any financial benefits of the programs, which helps sustain each organization’s ability to support and expand the programs.

 

 

Expect to spend time and effort

 

  • Realize that it can take a lot of time and effort to develop relationships with the right people and to work out the partnership details:

    • The Arthritis Foundation New York Chapter’s negotiation process with two managed care organizations lasted about a year, beginning with the initial meeting with the CEO champions, working with other key “shepherds” and then meeting with the medical directors, managed care policy and program departments, and with the marketing and product development departments.

      Click here to learn more

    • The Arthritis Foundation Michigan Chapter started out working with their state aging agency, which helped them identify which area agencies of aging were likely partnership prospects. The area agencies then helped to recruit individual senior centers that would be good host sites for the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program. To create a sense of urgency, a specific timeline was outlined in the negotiation process (recruit sites in spring, train in July and August, launch classes in September, and evaluate in December). Letters of agreement were signed with the senior center directors and instructors.

      Click here to learn more

 

Document responsibilities in a written agreement

 

 


  • Ensure that the co-sponsorship agreement is signed by the appropriate decision maker within the organization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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