Smart Partnerships:

Smart Partnerships:

More With Less!

How institutions can really engage communities to get things done.

These days, funders, public agencies, and other institutions are pressed to accomplish more, and spend less.  So we seek to leverage our assets with community partnerships.  But how do we encourage real collaboration, with and among diverse community stakeholders? 

Smart Partnerships take advantage of positive network dynamics.  I work with communities and institutions to enable each of us to contribute and gain as part of the common good.  The result is more participation, more buy-in, better projects, and greater impact for our resources.

What are Smart Partnerships?

From job and business creation to health promotion, from education to the environment, we know that community-based effort is key.  Smart Partnerships are collaborations linking the assets and initiatives of institutions with community assets and interests for powerful, long-term impact. 

Smart Partnerships build on your existing plans and arrangements with asset thinking, collaborative leadership, and networked strategy.  Luther trains staff and community leaders in effective community practice, facilitates positive and productive group sessions, and consults on strategy, resource development, and action.  

Use Luther's Smart Partnerships approach:
  • to ensure that a partnership makes a real impact
  • to build community buy-in for a sponsored initiative
  • to mobilize participants for meaningful action
  • to boost collaborative effort midstream
  • to build participant capacity for ongoing action
  • to increase project fundability

Strengths on your side: Smart Partnerships

Luther's been an innovator in partnership work for over 35 years, and he understands strategy from institutional and community perspectives.  Luther has:

    Trained and facilitated over 25,000 community volunteers and institutional staff in collaborative methods and positive strategies.
    Staffed and consulted for foundations and grantmakers, including:  the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Northwest Area Foundation; the Blandin Foundation; the Ford Family Foundation; and the Priddy Trust.

    Staffed or consulted with elected officials and public agencies including Chicago, Corpus Christi, Sioux City, Des Moines, State of West Virginia, State of Washington, and rural Idaho.

   An 85 percent success rate on grant proposals written for community partnerships.

    Author of publications on successful partnerships and strategies, including:
  - Community Transformation: Turning Threats into Opportunities.
 -  From the Bottom Up: Building Communities from Within.

Smart Partnerships: Luther in Action

"This is what a partnership should be." 
Foundation program officer

Galvanizing participation.  With Luther's help, a youth development agency partnered with one community to mobilize 2,200 adults and youth around a series of successful community initiatives.  This led to a state funding award and a permanent youth leadership advisory team in the local government.

Making money.   Sparked by Luther's Asset Mapping, local volunteer groups for health raised 7 dollars in community funds for every dollar invested by the public health agency.

From conflict to enthusiastic collaboration.  A foundation faced obstacles to its efforts because of conflict between community newcomers and traditional residents.  Luther's facilitation helped all community members develop and contribute to positive projects, which led to enthusiasm for the partnership and real impact in the community.

Measurable impact:  A statewide economic development agency saw a 60 per cent increase in fundable projects from low-income communities after Luther's training in asset-based collaboration methods.

Who Uses Smart Partnerships?

Funders, including foundations, government grantmakers, firms, and donors, who want to extend and enhance the impact of their resources.  Funders sometimes use's Luther's services to get a funded initiative off on the right foot.  Other times funders ask Luther to train and consult with staff to incorporate Smart Partnership know-how into their long-term funding and capacity-building strategies.

Institutions and agencies who want to work with communities to accomplish positive change.  Examples might include a health initiative, an economic development partnership, a collaborative justice program, a youth leadership development, or an environmental partnership.  Smart Partnership methods help these groups to build a collaborative culture at the start, or as a mid-stream boost.  In the long-term, Smart Partnership training and strategy helps participants convert relationships into action and real impact.
Community-based initiatives and campaigns, including those wishing to build partnerships with institutions.  Luther helps these groups mobilize widespread community participation.  And Luther helps these groups to understand institutional perspectives and find overlapping interests to get things done.  Smart Partnerships result in funding and institutional resources to match and support volunteer effort and community assets, for much greater impact.

How can I use Smart Partnerships?

You are not alone.  Be part of a larger network of community partnership builders!

Read the book:  Community Transformation: Turning Threats into Opportunity, is a practical, nuts-and-bolts telling of 6 stories of community partnerships that had large-scale public impact.  Another bestselling book, The Organization of Hope:  A Workbook for Rural Asset-based Community Development, contains grassroots cases from rural and small town contexts.  

Recognize and build on your own community partnership approaches.  Wherever community partnerships are successful, it's because participants recognized assets and worked to get things done together that none could accomplish on their own.  The most powerful support you can get might be to recognize and build on the good you are already doing.

Network.  In months to come we'll be providing more ways to share and collaborate with other leaders in this field on this website.  Meanwhile, check the "Links" section of this website and our social networking connections like Facebook and Linked In.

Engage Luther K. Snow.

    Hire Luther to be a speaker and presenter at your conference, gathering, or other collaborative event.  Participants praise his presentations for combining positive, interactive process with powerful insight and inspiration.  Luther will tailor the presentation to your group, and participants will develop practical skills they can take home and use, right away! [Speaking]

    Tap Luther to facilitate and lead a workshop or series of workshops for your participants or leadership group.   You'll tackle the issues that matter most, discover the strategic value of your partnership, and take the action that really works.  [Facilitation]

    Bring in Luther to consult with your partnership or emerging collaboration.  Use Luther's skills to get a new community partnership off the ground.  Or apply Smart Partnership methods to the development and implementation of a strategic initiative.  Luther will help you see opportunities in even the toughest situations, and train your leaders to respond and act from strength.  [Consulting]

Thank you for your work on positive change!