Focusing on “the how”: Updates to the Intersector Toolkit

What actions can you take to start, sustain, evaluate, and share the story of your cross-sector partnership? With the goal of empowering practitioners in the business, government, and non-profit sectors to collaborate to solve problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone, The Intersector Toolkit provides practical knowledge for practitioners in every sector to implement their own cross-sector initiatives. Since releasing our original version of the Toolkit, we have continually engaged leading practitioners and thinkers in several rounds of feedback on its contents. We recently updated the Toolkit based on our latest round of feedback, reflecting our continued dedication to ensuring our resources reflect the needs and experience of those involved in cross-sector work.

This update endeavors to make the Toolkit more practical as a planning guide for collaboration partners. While our Toolkit can be used in many ways, we recommend that practitioners distribute the Toolkit to core partners in the early stages of their collaborative process, and use it as a resource to support shared understanding of key elements for their collaborative process and a common language for those elements.

For each of our 17 tools, we have added questions to guide tool use — a list of reflection and discussion questions that we recommend practitioners consider, either individually or with their partners, when using or planning to use these tactics. For example, when beginning to Establish a Governance Structure, we recommend practitioners consider the following questions:

  • What different governance structures will we consider?
  • How will we determine what type of governance structure is a best fit for our collaboration?
  • How will we handle disagreements among partners when establishing a governance structure?
  • How will our governance structure ensure equity and inclusivity?
  • And more.

We have also included additional resources that we recommend to practitioners looking for further, more detailed guidance on implementing each of the Toolkit’s 17 tools. We chose resources that expand significantly on “the how” of implementing our tools, including exercises, activities, and detailed guidance. We evaluated more than 65 resources — many are comprehensive guides like our own; others offer guidance on a particular component of the collaborative process, like evaluation or information sharing. (For an example, see the resources for Establish a Governance Structure here.) All resources are freely available online, although some require free registration in order to access them. We hope that this update will not only provide more actionable advice for practitioners but also introduce practitioners to a host of excellent resources that provide guidance on many aspects of cross-sector collaboration. For practitioners’ convenience, we’ve added a brief description and relevant page citation for each of these resources along with the website to quickly access them.

On our website, you’ll notice that the Toolkit has a new look — We implemented a complete redesign so that the Toolkit’s contents, particularly the new features for each tool, are easier to navigate and interact with. We also wanted our users to get a sense of all 17 tools at once and, in doing so, gain an understanding of how some tools build upon or relate to others. You can also read our new introduction that more clearly articulates our vision for how practitioners should use the Toolkit, as well as an updated discussion section for each tool.

We’ll be sharing in-depth discussion of each of the 17 tools weekly on our blog, starting later this week with Engage Potential Partners. All of the updates mentioned here are also reflected in the downloadable version of our Toolkit, which can be printed and used in meetings and to share with cross-sector partners throughout the collaborative process. The Toolkit is a living document, and we look forward to improving it as we continue to update this key resource for multi-sector partnerships in the future.