As your partnership develops, you’ll likely go through five predictable stages of group development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Mourning/Re-forming. Create a common understanding of the Stages of Team Building, including the challenges at each stage and strategies for addressing them.
Once you have engaged core partners and established your partnership’s vision, core values, and mission statements, think about how to structure your work together. Choosing Your Organization's Structure can help you decide the type of structure that’s right for you. If you decide to move from an informal partnership to a coalition, To Be (a Coalition) or Not To Be (a Coalition) lays out issues you should consider as well as ground rules and expectations to develop early in the process.
Use the Team Blueprint to guide your discussion around your partnership’s goals, project scope, meeting processes, partner roles and responsibilities, and how you will work together.
You’ll also want to discuss leadership for the organization: How will decisions be made? How will leadership be structured (e.g., executive director, steering team, executive committee)? Decide who will serve in leadership positions and whether the same people will be responsible for overseeing each step of the process to improve health.
Also consider who will provide coordination and supporting infrastructure. The Collective Impact model calls for a “backbone organization” to serve this role for multi-organization initiatives. Depending on the needs of the initiative, backbone functions can be fulfilled by different types of organizations, such as new or existing nonprofits or intermediaries like community foundations, United Ways, and government agencies. Backbone functions can also be shared across several organizations.1
1. Hanleybrown F, Kania J, Kramer M. Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work. Stanford Social Innovation Review 2012.