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Use an analytical approach to match partners according to their interests


Use an analytical approach to match partners according to their interests

Use an analytical approach to match partners according to their interests

Posted on August 31, 2021 by Lillian Holmes

Authoring Organizations: CEO Water Mandate
Consulting Organizations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Texas Water Action Collaborative
Universal: No
Applicable Phases: Assess
Last Updated May 22, 2024


In some partnerships, a core partner may serve as a connector who matches interested parties to collaborate on different projects, such as by identifying alignment between companies’ natural resources-related goals and environmental projects managed by NGOs and municipalities. In this instance, consider using the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework (NRAF) Tool 1: Stakeholder/Institutional Analysis. Use two survey instruments: one to assess what each existing or proposed project will deliver, and one to assess each potential supporters’ areas of interest. Existing and proposed projects can be scored using a matrix of criteria to sort projects by level of impact. Compatible partners can then be identified by weighting criteria that aligns with supporters’ goals. This provides baseline vetting prior to creating project proposals or introduction for potential funding.


  • For large partnership networks, this strategy streamlines and creates a replicable template for the process of identifying potential partners.
  • Concluding this basic vetting before introducing potential partners ensures that only relevant projects are proposed for support and builds the partnership’s credibility.


  • Companies and NGOs often approach natural resources stewardship issues differently, with unique vocabulary and reportable metrics of interest. Allow companies to evaluate and weight the most important elements of their interests to identify the most relevant potential projects that are in need of funding.
  • Use the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework Tool 2: Market Scan to develop an understanding of relevant companies with natural resources intensive businesses and work towards engaging these companies.
  • When designing a survey, ask for specific details on the project goals for a variety of metrics, such as water quality, volume, and land area or number of people impacted. Make sure that all surveys (both those for NGOs and for companies) align for easy evaluation.
  • Build trust in your partnership by engaging a trusted connector to conduct the vetting and proposal process.


The Texas Water Action Collaborative (TxWAC), a coalition of industry, nonprofit, and governmental organizations, is currently piloting in the upper Trinity River Basin. This collaboration is facilitated by the conservation non-profit Texan by Nature, whose mission is to accelerate conservation of natural resources by bringing conservation and business sectors together for collaborative, impactful partnerships. Building on the expertise of founding TxWAC partners (Coors and Coors Seltzer, Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, LimnoTech, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service - Texas, Tarrant Regional Water District, Texan by Nature, Trinity River Authority), learnings from California Water Action Collaborative involvement, and Texan by Nature’s 95+ conservation partners across the state, the collaborative surveyed conservation organizations and companies. The survey served to better understand the scope of projects in need of funding as well as industry partner priorities per their CSR/Sustainability goals. Conservation organization’s survey results were scored across 18 key criteria to identify the most impactful projects. Results are utilized to create a custom view and prioritization for each company based on weighting of their own strategic priorities. This process streamlines the partnership initiation and creates a replicable model that can be expanded to other geographies.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

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This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.