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Staffing the Partnership

Every sector initiative needs a dedicated intermediary to coordinate its activities, and every intermediary must dedicate the right staff time to carry out needed coordination. The risks of not dedicating time and staff to the effort run high, including setting expectations for outcomes that cannot be realized, and mobilizing partners only to have them leave discouraged. When staffing the initiative, consider that:

  • Funding for one or more staff persons may be best secured by leveraging joint investments from key partners. Alternatively, if start-up funding to support a staff person can be secured for the first six-months or year, the partnership might be willing to jointly fund his/her continuation based on early success.
  • The job description of the staff person(s) should highlight some basic requirements, including a high level of organization, good customer relations, the ability to listen, and the capacity to facilitate a diverse group of stakeholders. He/she must also be able to communicate the purpose of the partnership, explain how each stakeholder can benefit from the partnership, and clarify roles and responsibilities of members. The most effective intermediaries also have an understanding of the issues that confront the specific industry sector, and often are recruited from the ranks of the industry.