The purpose of conducting an ongoing or final evaluation of your partnership is to capture important learnings, which can strengthen future activities and the relationship between partners going forward.
Evaluation is also a way of expanding learnings from the partnership to other parts of the organisation. Partnership evaluation focuses on assessing the collaboration between the organisations working together, the experiences and areas for improvement.
A partnership evaluation can serve the following purposes:
- Capture learnings that can improve the relationships of the parties involved in the partnership.
- Provide learnings that will strengthen the partnership and activities going forward.
- Provide recommendations for changes in roles and responsibilities to ensure that the right competencies are present.
- Support discussions to manage potential disagreement or conflict.
All partners who have been part of the partnership, should take part in the evaluation process of the partnership in order to capture all perspectives and relevant learnings.
It can be a valuable exercise to evaluate the collaboration continuously e.g. through a workshop with all parties. As a minimum, evaluation should take place once a year and by the end of the project.
There are many methods for conducting partnership evaluation, e.g. as a face-to-face discussion, interviews, by issuing a survey or using questionnaires.
Keep in mind that cultural differences might make one evaluation method a better choice than others.
Direct face-to-face discussion might not be the best approach in all cases, as the setting might refrain some people from giving their true opinion.
Choose a format that will make it possible to ask detailed questions and illuminate specific partnership experiences and observations, both positive and negative.
The headlines below take you through the main themes structuring a typical cross-sector partnership:
- Strategic fit
- Roles and responsibilities
- Resources management
- Decision-making and leadership
- Work processes
- Communication and transparency
Partnership evaluation usually takes place periodically and by the end of the project.