Checklist: What Network Organizers Should Look for in an Intermediary


January 2019


Pencil network logo

Intermediary organizations that serve as the hub or backbone of an education network can be integral to a network’s success. Use this checklist to assess whether a potential intermediary partner can fulfill the core capacities to support your emerging network. For more information, see the accompanying blog post.

Building connections

✓ This partner can help build our connections with state, national and/or international stakeholders related to our focus area.

✓ This partner can help build our connections with potential funders.

✓ This partner can help raise our network’s visibility.

Providing neutral, objective support

✓ This partner does not have a separate, predetermined agenda for the focus of our work or how we should do it.

✓ This partner is experienced in helping groups create dialogues and reach consensus about important decisions.

✓ This partner demonstrates sincere commitment to the long-term success of our network.

Network experience

✓ This partner has served as an intermediary for networks like ours.

✓ This partner has deep, empirical knowledge of how to support networks.

✓ This partner is well-versed in the research literature about networks.

✓ This partner has a track record of publishing and presenting about networks and has standing in the field.

Performing critical network operations

✓ This partner can facilitate inquiry and action cycles with groups of diverse stakeholders.

✓ This partner can support in-person and virtual collaboration.

✓ This partner can provide training in our content area or easily connect us to the content-specific support we need.

✓ This partner can help us apply research-based information to our context.

✓ This partner can support data and evidence use on multiple levels (e.g., formative and summative evaluation, monitoring progress against network goals, documenting network activities and member satisfaction).

✓ This partner can manage the logistical details (e.g., planning, scheduling, arranging) for network convenings, leadership meetings and virtual collaboration.