TransformingThe case for

Growing numbers in all sectors and fields are recognising the importance of skillful partnership brokering in ensuring partnerships have maximum impact on the critical issues of our times. But we still have a lot of convincing, engaging and influencing to do.

As a highly decentralised organisation – with our core team, alumni network, host and partner organisations operating in many different locations – we already have significant global reach.  Part of our collective work is to tell the story about why and how partnership brokering makes a significant difference to effective collaboration to those who have influence including donors, policy-makers and decision-takers, organisational leaders/mangagement.

Partnership process management / brokering needs support in terms of both recognition and investment – it needs to be mainstreamed not sidelined and seen as central not optional. Our learning work is yielding the evidence to support this, our training programme is endorsing the courageous work of those taking on the role and our supporting services provides exciting opportunities to influence organisations, partnerships and sectors and their partnering approaches.

But this is not enough. We need to support, encourage and enable partnership brokering at a systemic level

A global movement for change

We aim to transform collaborative practice through a movement that:

  • Engages with many others including colleagues working in comparable / parallel initiatives (for example, Collaborative Impact, Shared Value, Presencing, Collaborative Advantage)
  • Leverages our global networks of trained partnership brokers and other practitioners to share their knowledge and experience and to challenge and change out-dated partnering practices;
  • Makes the case to donors for more investment and mainstreaming for partnership brokering and partnering propcess management;
  • Sets high standards in partnership brokering worldwide (by disseminating our established Partnership Brokering Good Practice Principles) and other means
  • Is ready to challenge and change our own thinking when new knowledge / better approaches become available – acknowledging that, like everyone else in the partnering space, we don’t know what we don’t know.


Here you can access the recording of the webinar hosted by PBA Associates: Michelle Halse and Joanna Pyres. They talk to Adam Kahane, author of ‘Collaborating with the Enemy – How to Work with People You Don’t Agree with or Like or Trust’. In his book Adam introduced the notion of ‘stretch collaboration’, which takes us beyond conventional collaboration where we can control what happens (the goal, plans, roles, even outcomes). In the webinar he talks about collaboration, power, control, people’s needs and the choices they face when they collaborate…

The full recording can be accessed here:

Current movement-building programmes

We are building a number of transformation projects:


1. Re-thinking Remote Partnerships

Many partnerships have to operate largely or wholly long-distance and, to date, there is very little research into how partnering processes / partnership brokering have to be adapted (or even completely re-configured) to meet the additional challenges of time zones and separation. This programme of work seeks to radically improve global long-distance partnering capability. With our partners: Action Against Hunger; British Red Cross; PAX for Peace and Partnership Resources Centre (Erasmus University) and with funding from the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, this work is well under way.  We are making our findings and ideas public as they emerge…

Download the first paper published in this project ‘Current Status of Remote Partnering’ and visit the website at

2. Counting what Counts

Working with bi-lateral, multi-lateral agencies as well as foundations, this project aims to explore the crucial role that donors have in supporting (or inhibiting) multi-stakeholder collaboration. Essentially it aims to understand the realities for donors in getting the balance right between exercising due diligence and giving space for the innovation and risk so necessary for transformative and impactful partnering. How can donors also operate as ‘brokers’ or in what ways can they invest more in building robust and effective partnerships?

This work incorporates on-going work with a number of donor agencies and draws on the rich experience of our PBT Alumni and PBA Associates.

Read Counting What Counts: An invitation to join a project to explore the important role of donors in building capacity for, and increasing the impact of, multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Visit the project website: or contact the Project’s Curator –

3. The influence of context on effective partnering

Our partnership brokering network is an extraordinary and unique source of front line information about what it takes to partner effectively in different contexts and with a diverse set of challenges. Our recent publication Emerging Partnership Lessons from Diverse Contexts (part of the PEP programme funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands), for example, illustrates vividly that partnering is neither easy or predictable. We aim to make practical knowledge and experience of practitioners more accessible by turning it into key messages to influence those in funding and decision-making roles.

 4. Promoting Transformational Partnerships

From our survey with partnership brokers operating in different contexts, we drew up this list of ‘tips’ for those working with partners aiming for truly transformational influence, outcomes and impact. This was presented to a large audience of international NGOs and donors at the Start Network’s annual conference in May 2016:


Movement building matters!

We are reaching out to like-minded people and organisations who understand that navigating our collective journey to a fair and sustainable world needs care and attention and who are actively contributing to the urgent need for change.

We warmly welcome others to join this movement for change.

Contact us:

New Initiatives: Ros Tennyson –
Movement-building: Joanna Pyres –
Networking: Michelle Halse –
General information: Marta Serafin –