Increasingly NGOs and development agencies are either choosing or being required to work in partnerships and coalitions to better take advantage of funding opportunities or to better deliver interventions on the ground.
Monitors and evaluators are increasingly being presented with coalitions and consortiums as entities that need to be measured, tracked and evaluated. This can be a challenge as a coalition or consortium is halfway between being an informal network and a formal merger and partnerships can be both formal and informal. A few years ago Jared Raynor at the TCC Group set out a framework for assessing coalitions and partnerships that is incredibly useful.
You see, coalitions or consortiums can be both organisations and interventions delivered by organisations, so measuring and assessing their effectiveness can be complex. Understanding the key elements that need to be measured will help both monitors and evaluators to focus their work.
Jared sets out a simplified approach for coalition assessment that really works:
Member Capacity + Coalition Capacity + Outcomes
Member capacity is as much about what members (organisations and/or individuals) have to offer the coalition or consortium as it is about what the members will get out of the coalition or partnership. Often the latter point is quite difficult for members to articulate.
Whereas Coalition Capacity can be measured by considering Leadership Capacity, Adaptive Capacity, Management Capacity, Technical Capacity (Rayner, 2010).
Outcomes have to include both the interim development results and intervention goals. Coalitions and consortiums often operate on a continuum from initial set up to ultimate goal attainment. Members have to ensure that they have sufficient capacity to contribute to and benefit from the joint work they are engaging in. That might mean (as I witnessed earlier in the year) that to begin with, members are getting more out of the coalition or consortium than they are putting in. Which is fine as long as they understand the continuum that they are part of and how to translate their own development into the development of the coalition or consortium.
Have you ever worked with or for a coalition? How did you experience working with other member organisations in the coalition and how did you manage to measure coalition success?