Becoming partnership ready: a checklist

Partnership readiness demonstrates stability, capacity and credibility to your potential partners. Smart organisations – big or small – will assess their readiness before seeking partners.

If you’re a well-established organisation with a few years under your belt, you should be able to address most or all of these.

If you’re a small organisation just starting out, not all of this is feasible right from the start. Try to tick off as many as you can before you start actively prospecting and work your way towards the rest over time.

Graph: Partnership Phases & Insights, P.13, Open for Business Report

To be partnership ready, we recommend considering the following five factors:


Define what you have to offer and the unique opportunity for a business partner.

  • Can you clearly articulate your organisation’s impact?
  • Have you considered the business challenge you could help solve through a partnership e.g. community engagement, brand awareness, client experiences?
  • Have you identified the opportunities, benefits, and assets you could offer a partner?
  • Is your proposal template ready to be tailored for prospective partners?


An actively engaged Executive and Board will improve your success in attracting and retaining partnerships

  • Are your internal leaders engaged with and supportive of the partnerships strategy?
  • Do you have Board members who are willing to activate their business networks through introductions and hosting of contacts?


An integrated, whole of organisation approach to relationship management and partnership delivery yields the greatest results.

  • Does your organisation agree on the need for and involvement in partnerships?
  • Do you have buy-in and active involvement from other departments involved in conceiving and delivering a partnership e.g. Artistic and Marketing teams?


With clear targets and processes, you are better equipped to track progress and mitigate risk.

  • Have you identified your financial and in-kind targets for the immediate and longer term? Are they achievable?
  • Do you have a clear process for how you will approach and secure partners?
  • What is your decision making process and framework for assessing suitable partnerships?
  • Do you have financial benchmarks for valuing a partnership?


It takes time, money and resources to successfully manage a partnership.

  • Do you have a dedicated staff member or team responsible for partnerships?
  • Have your accounted for the cost to service and deliver benefits to your partners in your budget?
  • Have you factored in the time and resources it can take to secure a partnership e.g. multiple meetings across 6 – 12 month?
  • Have you considered the potential workload to deliver on partnership commitments, including measuring and reporting on impact?