Partnerships are becoming more common amongst sport for development programmes. Whether partnering with other CBOs or NGOs, or with government agencies or the private sector, partnerships can be a way to pool resources to achieve a common goal. For economic empowerment, it is particularly important to learn to partner across sectors. The benefits to be derived from successful partnerships can include access to knowledge, people and innovation, and increased effectiveness and efficiency. Many resources can be found at sportanddev.org. These include the Canada Commonwealth Games Partnership Filter and Application Tool, designed to evaluate the potential of partnering with an NGO. The NCDO Toolkit is based on interviews with experts and practitioners in the sport for development field, and highlights opportunities, stimulates discussion and offers a step-by-step guide for partnering with businesses.
Partnerships with various community stakeholders are an important and critical aspect of implementing a LEEP programme. Partnerships can help fill the gaps that your organisation might have at various levels of the LEEP pathway, and also provide viable education, employment, or entrepreneurship options when participants in your programme are ready to move on. This may mean making connections with local businesses and corporations, vocational training schools, universities, and other NGOs. In addition, mutually beneficial partnerships can be a valuable way to secure equipment, facilities, expert advice, basic provisions, and other programme needs.
There are a variety of organisations, private businesses, government agencies and individuals that your organisation can partner with to help facilitate. Some examples include:
- Sport and youth government agencies or ministries
- Local universities or technical/vocational schools
- Media organisations
- Local businesses interested in taking on apprentices or interns
- Business men and women interested in being mentors
- Local entrepreneurs interested in being a mentor
- Other sport or sport for development or general non-profit organisations who often need qualified coaches, facilitators or programme staff
- Local and national sport bodies
Tips for approaching and engaging resource providers and organisational partners:
- Find ways for your programme to benefit potential partners. Understand that although partnerships are occasionally built on altruism, they are more frequently built and sustained when there is a clear mutual benefit. Perhaps help maintain the field at a local school by cleaning up trash after every training session, or donate extra equipment you have to the youth centre that allows you to use their space.
- Communicate frequently and transparently about goals, needs and challenges.
- Demonstrate the successes of your programme. People want to partner with a successful programme that is positively impacting girls and the community.
- Be professional. Conduct regular meetings. Follow up with reporting on progress, events and impact.
- Assure visibility or invisibility, depending on the wishes of the partner.
- Express gratitude by publicly thanking each partner for their support and using logos and other materials provided by the partner.
- Create a flier that concisely and attractively summarises your programme. In many places, a written document with photos goes a long way in making your programme look official and respectable. This is especially important if it is a new programme. Include the names of your partners on your materials, if appropriate.
Income Generation Strategies
Some organisations are applying self-financing strategies to diversify their funding streams, such as membership fees, fees for services, product sales, and assets and investment dividends. Some Women Win programme partners are running business and social enterprises. These profit-making entities help support training and impact scaling to reach more girls. The aim of self-financing should always be to align with the core mission and values of your organisation, while generating income to sustain and grow your programmes.