- Co-create a shared vision and purpose for the network or alliance.
- Consider developing a strategic or annual plan. These documents, plus your vision statement, can help to resolve conflicts if they arise.
- Be clear about network or alliance membership and expectations of these members.
- Establish clear governance structures and decision-making processes at the start. Each network or alliance member must determine who has the authority to make decisions on behalf of their community or organization and what decisions they can make. A Terms of Reference can help to clarify issues of governance, decision-making, and engagement.
- Take the necessary time to build trust and strong relationships amongst members. Support and foster regular communications, including regularly scheduled calls or face-to-face meetings
- Focus on easy wins and low-hanging fruit in the beginning. Tackle more complex issues when relationships have deepened.
- Find easy ways for members to report back to their community or organization about the activities and successes of the network or alliance.
- Make sure that everyone involved understands that not all members can have equal capacity, funding or political will to contribute to the initiative in the same way.
- Keep the network flexible and nimble. Enable members to maintain autonomy by opting in or out of specific activities or initiatives.
- Develop data and information sharing agreements between member Nations if applicable.
Resources in chapter Create a Network or Alliance
Section: Why form a network or alliance?
The Coastal Stewardship Network supports Guardian Watchmen from nine First Nations and continues a long tradition of caring for coastal environments. How did it come about? This in-depth article from Coast Funds explores the history of Network, identifies key challenges and how they were overcome, and documents the economic, environmental, social and cultural outcomes associated with the Coastal Stewardship Network and the Indigenous Guardian programs it supports.
Sharing Intelligence Through the Coastal Stewardship Network
“Politically, it can be difficult to get groups to work together but technically, it’s amazing how similar the issues are as well as the training needs. The Guardians themselves echo how much they value the peer and technical support through our network. We coordinate training that wouldn’t be possible without a network. We also purchase equipment such as drones and make it available for Nations to use.” .
“Politically, it can be difficult to get groups to work together but technically, it’s amazing how similar the issues are..."
This toolkit provides guidance for creating a partnership among different organizations to address a common goal.
Community Toolbox - Step-by-Step Guide to Creating and Maintaining Partnerships
“When providing support to the network, it’s important to do what you say you are going to do, respond quickly, and engage at the different levels – political, managerial, technical. We established trust by communicating regularly with everyone so that we’re all on the same page. We constantly check in on what our members need and what their priorities are. Our most important lesson is to emphasize the autonomy of each Nation.”