The Power of Partnerships

'If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,' the saying goes. That’s why collaboration is a powerful tool. Whether building internal capacity to execute a data science project or creating agreements with other value-aligned organizations to share data, partnerships can yield enormous benefits. But in reality, they can also present challenges.

Guide Details

Last Updated On

January 11, 2022


The volume of data collected by multiple devices, such as mobile phones, sensors, or satellites, is growing at an exponential rate. Accessing and aggregating different sources of data, including data outside the public domain, has the potential to provide insights into many societal challenges. This catalyzes new forms of partnerships between public, private, and nonprofits aimed at leveraging different sources of data for positive societal impact and the public good.

The following resources are intended to help you navigate and build successful data partnerships so that you can start reaping the rewards of external collaboration.  

In this Guide
  • Basic principles of managing data partnerships.
  • Resources on seeking technical assistance from other organizations.
  • Data sharing agreements and ethical data sharing best practices.

How to Partner

Even the best partnerships take work to establish, and ongoing maintenance. The following resources provide support on managing partnerships.

Technical Assistance

There are many organizations – from volunteer-based nonprofits to private sector entities – that provide technical assistance for social impact organizations. Technical assistance ranges from tools to project-based support, to mentorship. So it is important to evaluate the kind of technical assistance that will provide the most value at this stage of your organization and to understand your own bandwidth for making the best use of that assistance. Here are some organizations providing technical assistance that you may want to investigate:

Data Sharing

Sharing data with other value-aligned organizations can provide partners with more information that can improve decision-making, reduce duplication of efforts, and increase impact. However, it can be difficult to overcome reticence, navigate constraints, and establish sustainable, responsible processes for data sharing. The following resources should help you get started.


The resources above will help you start partnering with others on your data projects and initiatives. We also suggest reaching out to peer organizations, whose challenges and learning may provide direct and current examples of ways forward. Please feel free to suggest any other guides you found helpful by contacting us and we may incorporate them.

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