Trust and Sustainability outlines ways your partnership can navigate conflict and sustain itself longterm.

Partnerships naturally experience conflict. Challenges related to survivor inclusion and leadership are not the only places where partnership leaders must carefully navigate the experiences, personalities, positions, and aims of collaborators. The optimal collaboration creates a wide and inclusive network that brings together people from diverse perspectives and professions to share knowledge, information, and skills while casting a broader net for reaching potential and actual victims of human trafficking. Even with such great momentum and success, there are still concerns about gaps in terms of who is sitting at the table, who has the power in the room, and who’s voice is being heard. Trust is an essential requirement for effective partnership.  When partnerships enjoy trust, they have the opportunity to set and achieve goals together.

Conflict and Partnership Leadership 

  • Partnership leaders typically hold the responsibility of resolving conflicts that emerge.
  • Prospective members need to recognize this responsibility as part of the job description when they consider joining partnership leadership.
  • Conflict resolution practices that provide opportunities and mechanisms that are both formal and informal appear effective across partnerships.
  • Early partnerships experience conflict from the personalities or persons involved (as individuals) or the perceptions of the roles and goals of the organization represented by persons joining the partnership 
  • Mature partnerships view conflict as welcome and necessary for the group to evolve and maintain trust 
  • Personality-driven conflict dissipates as relational trust grows 
  • Priority-driven conflict declines as responsibility-based forms of trust grow

Building Trust and Sustainability

  • How do you define trust within your partnership?
    • Trust can be defined as one party’s willingness to be vulnerable to another party based on the confidence that the latter party is benevolent, reliable, competent, honest, and open.
  • How do you build trust within your partnership?
    • Successful partnerships build on trust by being specific about the goals they have and regularly evaluating and re-aligning goals, as well as commit to the time required to achieve those goals.
  • What is the purpose of trust within your partnership?
    • The purpose of trust in collaboration is to make inter-organizational relations function more effectively by reducing complexity and fostering cooperation in ways that more formal contracts cannot. 
  • Have you considered different forms of trust? How are these addressed within your partnership?
    • Relational trust is defined by the personal connections that individuals have within the movement.
    • Responsibility-based trust is defined by duties or roles.

What supports partnership sustainability? 

  • Partnership leadership/governance
  • Commitment
  • Desire or interest to end human trafficking
  • Quality of efforts and shared goals
  • Funding
  • Multidisciplinary or multi-agency partnership
  • Legislative Support
  • Resolving conflict or address tough personalities
  • Open communication 


Have you considered creating a sustainability plan? 

  • A sustainability plan is a tool that considers a full range of necessary resources and outlines specific strategies and action items toward long-term viability. Sustainability planning includes:
    • Vision: What does sustainability look like? Ensure the sustainability vision aligns with the organization identity.
    • Results orientation: Develop short and long-term goals specific to achieving the sustainability vision, define specific action items under each goal that will help the project move forward, define benchmarks to assess progress toward sustainability goals.
    • Strategies: Determine specific action items for developing and maintaining key partnerships necessary for sustainability. 
    • Resources: Outline the resources needed for sustainability and strategies for securing and maintaining resources.

Explore Other Sections of the Partnership Toolkit

Partnership 101

How do you define a partnership? How will you be intentionally inclusive in your membership?


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Partnership Management

Has your partnership set up specific goals and strategies?


Funding Your Partnership

How will you fund your partnerships’ work? What funding sources are available to you?


Survivor Engagement

How will you make your partnership survivor-centered?


Contact Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline Today

Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline is managed by the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking. Request referrals, report tips, or get help today.

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