Feature Article - February 2004
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Joining Forces, Sharing Resources

When combining assets could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship

By Mitch Martin

Creating Successful Partnerships

Partnerships among recreation organizations and other entities can produce benefits for everyone involved, particularly the citizens of the community.

According to GreenPlay, a parks and recreation consulting firm based in Colorado, partnerships may include cash gifts and donor programs, improved access to alternative funding, property investments, charitable trust funds, labor, materials, equipment, sponsorships, technical skills, or use of volunteers.

Some partners take a more active role in decision-making, such as agencies sharing a lease on a facility. In other agreements, such as grant programs, the parks and recreation agency retains greater decision-making powers.

Whatever form they take, the most successful partnerships share a number of elements. GreenPlay has outlined the common attributes in a sample policy:

  • The governing body, such as a city council, parks board or department head, must actively support the concept of partnering.
  • Before seeking agreements, the agency should have a "partnership policy" that sets a level playing field for all potential partners and allows the agency to respond to opportunities.
  • The policy should set priorities and criteria for considering possible partnerships.
  • All participants should know the steps to create a partnership well in advance.