NABCI Field Guide to Developing Partnerships

Executive summary

With the recently documented loss of 2.9 billion birds over 50 years in North America, unprecedented and creative partnerships are needed more than ever to advance bird conservation goals. Many bird conservation outcomes align with broader societal goals, such as water quality and human health, creating opportunities for meaningful and productive partnerships that advance goals to benefit birds and people, in coalitions that are stronger than one community working alone. Developing mutually beneficial partnerships based on common or complementary goals requires commitment, flexibility, and a desire and capacity to listen and understand the needs, values, and challenges of potential partners. This document provides guidance on how to find common goals, effectively reach out to potential partners, and develop lasting relationships that benefit all players.

The benefits of partnering with private organizations or individuals extend far beyond funding or match requirements; broadening a partnership to include new and different perspectives can yield new ideas, new approaches, increased capacity, and new opportunities. Partnering outside of the bird conservation community can positively benefit public perception of a cause and lend political clout to an issue. Building on broad, common goals with private organizations can help engage a more diverse network and give stronger relevance to an initiative. Different types of private entities bring different opportunities for partnership contributions and may require different approaches.


  1. Looking Beyond Birds to Find Partners
  2. Reaching Out and Communication
  3. Developing Relationships
  4. Overview of Partnership Opportunities

Learn more about developing partnerships:

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NOTE: The content above was taken directly from NABCI’s Field Guide to Developing Partnerships

Why the Field Guide to Developing Partnerships is useful for land trusts:

This is the ultimate guide on building and sustaining meaningful, mutually-beneficial partnerships so that both organizations can advance their priorities. Land trusts may use this guide to help them pursue new partnerships or enrich existing partnerships. For ideas on who to partner with visit our Engaging People or Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice Resource Pages.