Hearing from the Experts on the Challenges of Forming a Partnership – Part 2

The first part of this Help Sheet series saw personnel from four award-winning partnerships talk about some of the challenges they have faced in establishing and maintaining their community business partnerships.

This Help Sheet – the second in the series – sees a further three partnerships under the spotlight.

The information in this Help Sheet is drawn from case studies contained in the Community and Business Partnerships section of Our Community's website, with the full list of case studies available here.

The case studies have seen some of this country's most successful partnerships answer our questions and share their knowledge with the aim of encouraging others to form beneficial relationships. Each partnership has either won or been short listed for the finals of the 2003 The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships.

What the Experts Say …

PARTNERSHIP 1

Chances for Children is a support body working across north-west Victoria to assist disadvantaged young people to improve themselves through access to educational, sporting and cultural opportunities.

The body joined a partnership with property and land development firm Executive Homes which operates on multiple levels – including the donation of a portion of the money raised from the sale of a specially-built Executive Homes house to Chances for Children, and numerous fundraising activities centred around benefit functions and the establishment of coffee shops at Executive Homes display homes.

The partnership took out the Medium Business Award (Vic) in the 2003 Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnership. Ken Carr from Mallee Family Care, which operates the Chances for Children initiative, and Paula Mastrippolito from Executive Homes said one of the challenges involved making sure all bases were covered:
  • Both said there was a high level of professionalism needed to ensure "effective planning, administration and promotion of the project so that all parties benefited".
Carr said there were other challenges as well when working with a business:
  • To identify the right company to work with on the partnership projects, and to tailor these projects to fit the business' capacity and motivation.

PARTNERSHIP 2

PMI Mortgage Insurance Ltd and Habitat for Humanity (a non-denominational Christian housing organisation which builds decent and affordable homes in partnership with low-income families) have agreed on a three-year partnership that sees PMI sponsor one house for each year of the partnership.

The partnership also involves PMI staff and customers putting in their own time to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity. This relationship won  an Encrouagement Award (NSW) in the 2003 Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnership.

Michael Neary from PMI said working with volunteers can present challenges:
  • Neary said that working with volunteers from PMI's community group partner was a challenge because they "were not always available during office hours", and sometimes didn't completely understand the corporate requirements of PMI.
  • He said another challenge was everyone knowing what the expectations of the partnership were for each of them.
Habitat for Humanity's Shauna Wood said many of its challenges came from outside the partnership, including:
  • Weather, local government approvals issues and the availability of skilled labour.
  • She also agreed with Neary in mentioning issues relating to volunteers as another challenge the partnership had to work through.

PARTNERSHIP 3

Duffy Primary School and New South Wales aged care facility UnitingCare Mirinjani Village have formed a partnership that is truly based around give and take, as well as learning from both parties.

Primary school pupils and aged care facility residents interchange various skills and knowledge – for example, senior citizens teach the pupils how to knit, while the children entertain the village residents by singing. The partnership won an Encouragement Award (ACT) in the 2003 Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnership.
  • Both Duffy Primary and Mirinjani Village cited a common main challenge – time constraints.
  • Another challenge for the partnership was working around any illnesses the elderly citizens may have had.
  • Duffy Primary also mentioned the need to coordinate times to run the program as another challenge that had to be addressed.
For more experts advice on the challenges that can face community business partnerships, refer to the Help Sheet Hearing from the Experts on the Challenges of Forming a Partnership – Part 1, also available at the partnership Brokerage Service section of the Our Community website.