November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 43

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FUTURE LEADERS

How To Form Successful Program Partnerships
Good collaboration with helpful partners can make or break your recreation program
By Jenna Tyler, CPRP

W

e have all reached that point where there is simply no money to
run the kind of program we imagined. Fear not, young professionals, for we are resourceful and always find a way to manage.
While user fees could increase or the quality of the program could dwindle,
as professionals we can always find another organization to work with. I
speak of partnerships, and they can work miracles, but first, there are a few
things you should consider.
What to Merge?
Forming partnerships means you
can potentially merge budgets, supplies, equipment, facility space, staff,
volunteers, programming ideas, participant databases, marketing and
promotions, as well as liability and
risk management.
Formal vs. Informal
Prior to implementing any partnership, you need to determine if
a simple handshake sets the terms

or if a couple of John Hancocks
are required. In some instances, a
formal agreement will require that
some type of legal counsel drafts
and reviews a memorandum of understanding. This process can take
quite some time, so I recommend
considering your partnerships and
any documentation well in advance
of any programming deadlines.
Despite the paperwork hurdles
you may have to jump over, formal
documentation is typically a good

thing as it serves as a form of communication clearly stating who is
responsible for what.
Public vs. Private
Partnering with public and nonprofit
organizations tends to eliminate program overlap while allowing you to
share supplies and staffing resources. However, private organizations
can usually provide larger financial
support. Remember, though, private organizations are typically in
business to see some sort of return
on investment. Public and nonprofit
organizations should be supportive
with staff who can witness the partnership benefits; however, private organizations can benefit from supporting documentation showing that the
partnership was worthwhile. Similar

W W W. N R PA . O R G | N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 3 |

Parks & Recreation

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November 2013 - Parks & Recreation

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