Collaboration Toolkit

« Back to the Main Stages of Collaboration

Bring collaborative members to the table

Identify Initial Members of Your SWC

Which organizations and individuals should become the initial members of your collaborative? Your vision of the water concerns that you want to address, targeted areas, and desired actions and outcomes can help you identify potential collaborative members.

Note that misunderstanding and conflicts can arise when norms are implied rather than clearly stated.

  • Your source water issues can guide member selection: Those who can contribute to the desired source water protection outcomes, or who can effectively reach out to those key players, should be engaged in the collaborative.
  • Consider a core planning group: Some collaboratives start with a core planning group of a few already interested, trusted partners, either in a single organization, or in key organizations. They can help with initial planning and identify other candidate partners.
  • Identify likely collaborators: At this early stage, you may want to focus on potential collaborative members who have a major stake in the water quality issue and share your goals, and who are likely to work collaboratively. At a later stage, you can identify ways to best reach possibly more reluctant partners.
  • Consider a variety of perspectives: The scope of your collaborative is also a factor.

Tailor Your Invitation to Attract Members

Use initial communication materials to lay the groundwork. These can be brief. Plan to provide answers to key questions that potential partners may have:

  • Develop an invitation letter that outlines a clear problem statement and current opportunity to collaborate. Also include:
  • What is the purpose of the collaborative?
  • Why should I participate and what do you want me to do?
  • What’s in it for me (or my organization or my community)?
  • Why now?
  • Invite partners to share their knowledge, data and maps to help refine the problem.
  • See other collaborative’s sample invitation materials:

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