From Touchstone Issue #9 See Full Issue

Keys to a Successful Partnership | by David Van Patten

In our industry, a partnership is a formal relationship between two NGOs with complementary capabilities that creates value for both organizations in some way.

In Prison Fellowship, we generally have two types of partners:  strategic partners and program partners. Strategic partnerships help us fulfill our strategy and generate a significant, long-term impact. Program partnerships focus on operational or tactical goals.

Partnerships generally have one or more of the following attributes:

  • Increases market share (access more prisoners and their families)
  • Increases brand awareness
  • Extends our product line (ministry programs)
  • Adds value to existing customers
  • Shares IP or infrastructure
  • Reduce risks; strengthens weaknesses
  • Sources new capital

The keys to a successful partnership include:

  • Alignment of objectives
  • Complementary capabilities
  • Effective internal communication and trust
  • Accountability and metrics
  • Partnership management team
  • Clear roles and responsibilities



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