Community-Business Partnerships - Are You Ready? A Checklist

This checklist provides a quick rundown of the basic points you and your prospective partner should have discussed and agreed on before you formalise your partnership.

Both parties should also take the opportunity to raise any issues of concern or confusion they may have to ensure they are discussed and resolved before the partnership begins.

Visions:

  • Is there agreement within both the business and community group that the partnership proposed would be the most beneficial for both parties and the community?
  • Do both groups share a number of goals, aspirations or philosophies as part of their operations?
  • Are the objectives of the planned partnership agreed?
  • Do both parties agree on the issue the partnership will aim to address, and do they agree the proposed partnership is focussed on addressing that issue?
  • Is there consensus on the model of the planned partnership, and that there are benefits for all parties and the wider community?
Attitudes
  • Are both parties willing to work together to drive the partnership forward?
  • Are both groups willing to put in the time, effort and resources to make the partnership successful, ensuring deadlines are met and goals achieved?
  • Does each group know and have respect for what the other does and what it aims to do?
  • Does each group trust the other's capabilities, commitment and professionalism when it comes to the prospective partnership?
  • Do both parties feel comfortable treating the other as an equal in the partnership?
  • Do both groups feel they can communicate as equals, talking and listening? Are both groups comfortable about being honest with each other in what they say and what they do?
  • Are both groups flexible enough to change or alter the scope of their partnership and its aims, if necessary?

Planning

  • Are there clear processes in place regarding how the partnership will function, and how its progress will be charted?
  • Is there agreement on how the conditions of the planned partnership will be formalised - verbally or through a written agreement? Is there also provision for formal changes to the partnership's structure if necessary?
  • Are there agreed contingency plans in place to deal with problems that may arise with the partnership? Is there an understanding about who has to be present if an emergency meeting is called in relation to the partnership, and what that meeting would have the authority to do?
  • Have both parties settled on the person or people who will speak publicly/to the media to help generate good publicity for the partnership? Is there also agreement on who will speak publicly or to the media if problems or a crisis arises?
  • Have both parties agreed on an "out-clause'', or a set of conditions that would spell the end of the planned partnership? Are arrangements for the end of the partnership agreed? For example, how joint projects, pro-bono, education or training arrangements, tenancy agreements, donations or volunteer work would be wound up.
Responsibilities
  • Do both parties know their responsibilities in the prospective partnership, and are both comfortable with them?
  • Do both groups know the roles and responsibilities of the other group in their planned partnership, and do both groups agree?
  • Is each group comfortable with sharing responsibility for the partnership?
  • Are both groups happy to share the good and the bad of the planned partnership, the benefits and the burdens that it will produce?
  • Are both parties comfortable with their level of decision making responsibility, as well as that of their prospective partner?
  • Is there a mutually-agreed way of reporting on whether both parties are meeting their responsibilities, and a procedure (for example, calling a meeting) if one of the parties does not meet its responsibilities?
  • Is there a mechanism to formally alter the responsibilities in the partnership should the need arise?