Zambia Partnering Tools

Tools to facilitate the partnership journey ….

There are 7 key tools that can be used to facilitate the scoping and building phase of the partnering journey. While depicted in a linear manner (like the partnering journey itself) the tools can be used in many different sequences in parallel with each other, and/or iteratively depending on the specific context of partnership. For example, the Partner Assessment Form can be used at the beginning of the journey to ensure a good fit with founding partners, and then later on to bring on new partners, warranted by more specific objectives and activities. The Strategic Alignment Checklist may be used by a partner to gauge preliminary interest a partnership, and then with more vigour before resources are committed. Most of the tools along the partnering journey feed into and are summarized in the signing of partnership agreement.


TOOL 1 – Partner Assessment Form ( to provide basic due diligence )

Use: To build internal organisational comfort for working with partner organisations
Partnering phase: Scoping and Building

A prompter enabling those creating a partnership to ask systematic questions of any potential partner to ensure a good fit with the goals / needs of the partnership. This tool should be used as a starting point for exploring a potential relationship by providing a basis for frank discussions with the key players involved at both senior and operational levels, especially when working with new organisations.

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TOOL 2 – Partnership Concept ( template for early communication )

Use: To provide an early stage draft of the partnership idea to invite a more structured conversation with key partners
Partnering phase: Scoping and Building

  • What issue/problem does this partnership address?
  • What important context should the partners consider?
  • What is the reason for collaboration?
  • How does the partnership address individual partners’ strategic priorities?
  • What is the potential over-arching goal partnership?
  • What are the potential objectives of the partnership?
  • What potential collaborative activities will the partners pursue to advance the partnership?

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TOOL 3 – Internal Prospective Partnership Assessment ( reaching a go/no-go decision )

Use: For an individual organization to assess the value, risks and implications of a partnership opportunity and inform a go/no-go decision
Partnering phase: Scoping and Building, prior to developing a partnership agreement

This tool is used to help organisations assess the value, risks and implications of a partnership in order that they can confidently go ahead, know that more information is required, or decide not to proceed. The tool is in two parts – an information sheet to capture the base information, and a checklist to see at a glance where the partnership is in terms of the criteria the partnership prospect must pass before going ahead.

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TOOL 4 – Partnership Planning Template ( tool for iterative planning )

Use: To provide the basis for a workplan for the partnership
Partnering phase: Scoping and Building

Partnership planning is an iterative process. It begins with an idea of the vision/ mission/ objectives of the partnership and the resources required to achieve them. This is followed by a reality check of available resources, and slight modification of the partnership vision/ mission/objectives and so forth until the available resources and partnership ambition are exactly matched. This template provide a starting point for partners to begin this iteration.

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TOOL 5 – Resource Mapping ( What can we collectively bring to the table )

Use: To demonstrate the wide array of potential resources available and have organisations understand what they can bring
Partnering phase: Scoping and Building

Prior to formalising a partnership, it is important for the partners to consider what resources will be needed for the agreed project or programme of work, what resources they themselves can bring to the table,
and any external resource requirements. Cross-sector partnerships are about maximising the value gained from combining available resources of all kinds. While in some cases there may be a funding requirement (for example to enable an NGO to bring its resources to the table), working across societal sectors brings with it a wide and diverse range of important or essential non-financial resources.

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TOOL 6 – Building Blocks of Partnership Structure ( tool to clarify the parameters of partnership governance and operations )

Use: To provide prompting questions for the governance and operational structure of the partnership
Partnering phase: Scoping and Building

This tool presents the ten areas of discussion for an effective partnership structure. Alongside the outputs from the resource mapping tool and the partnership planning tool, the partnership structure tool will help to inform the partnership agreement.

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TOOL 7 – Internal Partnering Agreement Scorecard ( ensuring the essential elements are in place )

Use: To ensure a partnership agreement contains the essential elements
Partnering phase: Developing of a partnering agreement or review and revision phase

By attempting to embed the core partnering principles of equity, mutual benefit and transparency into
the agreement, the process itself can help push a transactional relationship towards being more of a partnership. As with other tools, this can be used iteratively through the development of the partnership. For example, it can be used as an initial template to guide development of an agreement and/or later on as a checklist to review an agreement draft. For examples of actual partnering agreements or custom templates please contact TPI or ZBiDF

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