20 ways to know if partnering is paying off

Nonprofit organizations and foundations love to talk about “partnering”, “co-creating”, leverage”, and “synergy” – but do these hook-ups really yield as much value for the effort involved? Or is it just beneficial to be seen collaborating? I searched for reports on what value non-profit professionals typically get out of collaborations, but sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much research on this. One exception is Keystone’s own Partnership Survey. We measure this along dimensions of the[…]

A rose by any other name…

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or so we are told. But is it true? Words are powerful and we use them carefully to evoke certain feelings and emotions. For example, the vast majority of international NGOs work in “partnerships”. What does this word partnerships evoke? Shared mutual benefits perhaps? Shared risks? Collaboration between actors who jointly deliver activities, supporting each other and holding each other to account? I would argue[…]

Peace Direct introduces two way reporting to partners

International non-governmental organizations often ask a lot of partners in terms of reporting requirements – but how many provide reports in return? This simple innovation, introduced after receiving feedback from partners has changed the dynamic for INGO Peace Direct. Peace Direct, which supports local peace-building organizations, engaged Keystone to survey their partners about the state of the partnerships. They discovered that reporting to partners is an important step in accountability. Tom Gillhespy, Head of International[…]

Five things not to do with survey results

Today we explain what not to do with the results of our Partnership Survey. 1. Having commissioned the survey, paid for it and more importantly partners have spent time answering it – don’t ignore it. Even if you don’t like the results it is important to try and understand why your partners feel that way about your organization. The very best way to find out more about their responses is to talk about it with them.[…]

Taking the survey is the first step – it is what happens next that counts

Oxfam is serious about partnerships and so joined 76 other international non-governmental organisations in taking Keystone’s Partnership survey, which solicits views from partners. “The results were not particularly shocking to those of us working in programs although we hadn’t expected we would do so poorly,” said Makarand Sahasrabuddhe Program Quality Lead for Oxfam International. “The data was a gift. It came from over 800 partners. It pointed clearly to the fact that they did not[…]

The drive towards localization

Are international non-governmental organizations ready to surrender control to southern partners? Along with accountability and effectiveness, localization – essentially the process of handing over of control of programmes to locally based actors – dominates the discussions about how international NGOs (INGOs) should behave. And it is easy to see why; the issue of localization affects all INGOs whether working in development or humanitarian contexts. At the recent World Humanitarian Summit, yet again calls were made[…]

WaterAid explains how they used Keystone’s partnership survey

Collaboration is a core value of international non-governmental organisation (INGO) WaterAid. The organization knows it can only achieve universal access to water and sanitation (WASH) by working with others including government bodies, civil society organisations, academic institutions, donors, other NGOs and the private sector. WaterAid wants to develop empowering and mutually accountable and respectful relationships but knows this is easier said than done, especially when channelling money to other organizations. In some cases, a focus[…]

What do your partners really think of you?

Increasingly, international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) work through local partners. Constructive relationships between these organisations are critical for effective development. But do INGOs know what their partners really think of them? Keystone Accountability has surveyed thousands of local partners of INGOs. We ask about trust, support, communication and other areas, shining a spotlight on the relationship between the INGOs and their partners. Survey responses are anonymous so partners can express their opinions freely and the results[…]