Building and Supporting an Inclusive Collaboration Structure and Decision Making/Governance Structure
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Building and Supporting an Inclusive Collaboration Structure and Decision Making/Governance Structure

These resources, tools and examples support creating a positive environment and structure for the collaboration that will advance common purpose and productivity. 

Resource content includes exploring and implementing an organizational structure for the collaboration, ensuring clarity on structure across participants and maintaining a clear, inclusive decision making structure.


  1. Types of Partnerships: Continuum of Coordination – This resource provides examples of three partnership models and the decision-making process for each type.
  2. Considering Your Current State of Collaboration – This resource covers the potential functions and systems change strategies of collaboration work and supports assessing the level of collaboration functioning along a continuum of strength of vision and ability to execute.
  3. Establishing or Reviewing a Decision-Making Process – This tool supports brainstorming potential types of decisions that will need to be made (i.e. budget decisions, hiring decisions, etc.) and discussing relevant questions for each decision (What are the politics of the decision? Who understands the issue best? etc.)
  4. Setting Ground Rules – This tools supports determining what needs to take place at each meeting (i.e. meeting place, time, member roles, create organizational structure, etc.)
  5. Levels of Involvement in Decision-Making – This tool assists in considering how partners' involvement impacts their level of ownership in the collaboration.
  6. Writing Bylaws – This resource is an overview of components of bylaws, which are the rules and structure for governing and responsibility.
  7. Bylaws Template - This tool is a general, "fill-in-the-blank" set of bylaws, which can be used as a general outline for bylaws.
  8. Bylaws Samples:
    1. Health Coalition Bylaws – This community sample are bylaws for a membership based health coalition.
    2. Early Care and Education Collaboration Bylaws – This sample is a set of bylaws from a local collaboration, with no state organizing system.
    3. Local Smart Start Partnership Bylaws – This sample is a set of bylaws from a local collaboration, in a state with a state level organization system for community collaboration.
  9. How to Build a Charter - This resource outlines the common sections included in a founding charter document.
  10. Early Learning Collaboration Charter – This community samples includes an outline of the governance and committee structure for the collaboration’s functioning, along with decision making approach.
  11. Fiscal Sponsorship vs Fiscal Agency – This resource outlines the differences between the role of a fiscal sponsor and a fiscal agent.
  12. Building Policies and Procedures – This resource breaks down the difference between policies and procedures.
  13. Framework for Operating Procedures – This resource is a complete table of contents for operating procedures, which offers a sample of the content to include.
  14. Executive Committee Structure Samples – These samples, from a collaboration structure with an executive or leadership committee, outline responsibilities for the committee and responsibilities for the chair position.
    1. Executive Committee Position Description Sample
    2. Executive Committee Co-chair Responsibilities
  15. Staffing a Collaboration – These samples include job descriptions for collaboration directors or coordinators, tools for joint hiring process, annual evaluation tools and professional development plans.
    1. Template for Job Description and Posting
    2. Director Areas of Responsibility
    3. Sample Job Description – Buncombe County Smart Start (NC)
    4. Sample Job Description – Elgin Partnership for Early Learning (IL)
    5. Sample Job Description - Early Childhood Iowa County Partnership
    6. Phone Screen Questions
    7. Interview Questions
    8. Reference Check Questions
    9. Annual Evaluation
    10. Professional Development Plan
  16. Resolving Conflict – This tool outlines the causes of conflict and offers suggestions for how to address conflict.