ST8: Multi-Sector Partnerships and Planning*

Framework Component

Readiness & Capacity — Multi-Sector Capacity

Indicator Description

This indicator measures community capacity by assessing the readiness of multi-sector partnerships or coalitions to plan and achieve the changes in nutrition, physical activity, food security, and/or obesity prevention policies and practices that are evaluated as subsequent indicators in the Sectors of Influence level of the framework.

*SNAP-Ed Priority Outcome Indicator

Background and Context

ST8 identifies specific, quantifiable measures for evaluating multi-sector partnerships or coalitions that are planning for community-level changes in policies and/or practices for nutrition, physical activity, food security, and or/obesity prevention.

While ST7 measures readiness and capacity for changes at the organizational level within SNAP-Ed sites and organizations (e.g., school building, public housing office, park, or food bank), ST8 assesses partnerships and coalitions at the local, state, territorial, or tribal level composed of at least five diverse sector representatives. See glossary for a definition of sectors.

Multi-sector partnerships or coalitions at the jurisdiction level include those operating and/or seeking to make changes at the local (e.g., community, district, parish, city, town, county, borough, and region), state, territorial/commonwealth, or tribal levels. Those operating at a local or community level may be defined by geographic, demographic, and/or civic/political boundaries. For example, a multi-sector coalition within a “community” could consist of the residents of a neighborhood, the members of a particular demographic group within a geographic region, or all individuals served by a group of community-based and/or governmental institutions.

A SNAP-Ed State Nutrition Action Council (SNAC) or relevant collective impact initiative can also be evaluated using ST8 measures.

Outcome Measures

ST8. Number of state SNAP-Ed programs or local communities with multi-sector partnerships or coalitions that include at least five diverse sector representatives (who reach low-income audiences through their services) that address nutrition or physical activity-related community changes, such as policies, practices, or other elements of the framework.

For each multi-sector partnership or coalition being evaluated, the following should be measured:

ST8a. Types and number of organizations or individuals per sector represented
ST8b. Documented level of multi-sector representation of the partnership (as documented by partners)
ST8c. Documented level of active engagement of the partnership
ST8d. Level of influence of SNAP-Ed in the partnership (as documented by partners)

What to Measure

Multi-sector partnerships and coalitions can be measured along the following dimensions:

  1. Types and number of sectors represented in the partnership or coalition (ST8a)
  2. Number of partner agencies within each sector, and the roles and resources contained within the partnership or coalition (ST8b)
  3. Stage of coalition or partnership maturity, as measured by the documented level of active engagement (ST8c).
  4. Partners’ assessment of the state or local SNAP-Ed Agency’s level of influence in the state, local, territorial, or tribal nutrition or obesity prevention partnership (ST8d)
  5. Network analytics documenting the overall level of integration and active participation of the partnership (ST8a-d), as measured by:
    • Degree of communication within the partnership (communication network density)
    • Degree of collaboration within the partnership (collaboration network density)
    • Extent to which communication within the partnership is focused around one sector or one lead agency (communication network centralization)
    • Extent to which collaboration within the partnership is focused around one sector or one lead agency (collaboration network centralization)
    • Agencies with the strongest and weakest connections within the partnership (centrality)
    • Level of influence of SNAP-Ed within the partnership, as measured by the centrality of the SNAP-Ed agency in the partnership (the degree to which the SNAP-Ed agency serves as an important link within the partnership)

While partnerships and coalitions of any maturity can be assessed, those in existence for more than 6 months may yield richer data when measuring dimensions ST8b-d.



Surveys and Data Collection Tools

For this measure, surveys and/or interviews are conducted with members of the partnership(s) or coalition(s).

 Type and number of organizations/individuals in the coalition, roles and resources contained within the coalition, stage of coalition development, and partners’ assessment of the SNAP-Ed agencies’ role can all be assessed using one of the following two free, validated tools for measuring coalitions and outcomes:

While not included in the measurement outcomes, if a coalition or partnership is in the very early stages, the following tool may also prove useful:

 Level of active engagement within the partnership and level of influence of the SNAP-Ed partner within the partnership can be assessed using the following:

  • Levels of Collaboration Scale
    A common, validated survey item for measuring the degree of collaboration within their partnership or coalition. The data generated by this measure are often used as the basis for a network analysis.
  • The PARTNER tool
    A network analysis (density, centrality, centralization), along with other partnership-specific measures, may be conducted using this free, online network analysis tool. It is specifically for community-based partnerships to use in assessing their partnership development. This tool assumes no knowledge of network analysis.

Additional evaluation tools to measure ST8 can be found in the SNAP-Ed Library.

Key Glossary Terms

Additional Resources or Supporting Citations

More information on how to evaluate partnerships, including formative measures to assist in the strategic planning and development of a partnership initiative, may be found on the following sites: