Thursday, December 11, 2008

Semantics of Partnership

I've always been something of a jargon junkie. When I enter a new subculture I quickly seek to understand and adopt the particular language that marks one as a member. That has also been true in Philanthropy.

The most difficult word to parse has been "Partner" as I blogged about months ago.

In our society the word is used to describe business arrangements, romantic relationships (same sex and straight), friendships, and numerous other aspects of human interaction with varying degrees of formality.

In philanthropy it seems to indicate the relationship between donor and charity, but this can have so many different aspects.

When we identify what we call Strategic Partners for Catalyst we intend that the relationship extend beyond the merely mechanical exchange of finances, but also incorporate something more involved. But it has been difficult to define what that involvement might be.

Here's a draft list of aspects that might become a part of a Strategic Partnership Agreement as we continue forward:
1. Site Visit by Catalyst staff or principals to field work of the organization.
2. Informal Consulting between organization’s leadership and Catalyst
3. Promotion of partner through Catalyst website, blog, newsletter, and other materials, as well as personal advocacy
4. Annual Leadership Event with other Catalyst contacts
5. Catalyst Bonus Awards applications available to reward superior performance by staff
6. Catalyst Mentoring Program made available for a small cohort of staff and/or volunteers at no cost
7. Board Consideration for Catalyst director or principals to join partner’s board of directors
8. Strive/CCCC/Catalyst board development teleseminars could be made available
9. Referrals through the developing Catalyst menu of leadership development opportunities
10. Volunteer Involvement by Catalyst at programs or events
11. Fund Raiser participation/promotion through Catalyst channels

What could you add to the list? Where are the landmines?

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