Networks are
the answer...


Using network maps to understand complex relationships is all the rage these days, but as things get more complicated it can be hard to tell if a network approach is actually helping. We fix that.



Partner Type-01

PARTNER is the first CPRM (Community Partner Relationship Management System). It’s our signature platform for measuring and tracking complex networks of relationships over time. PARTNER uses network science to make it easy to collect, map, and analyze meaningful network data, helping you generate actionable insights to inform your collaborative strategy, and ultimately improve the outcomes of your work.

Why is PARTNER different?

PARTNER is not just a network mapping tool, it’s a network strategy powerhouse. As network scientists, we know that a pretty map is only as good as the data that goes into it. We built PARTNER with decades of research, expertise, and our innovative PARTNER Method baked right in, so even if you’re not a network expert you can trust that your network analysis will produce meaningful results.

Who uses PARTNER?

PARTNER is for organizations who work with others in a network or ecosystem to achieve collaborative goals. These networks can consist of other organizations, individuals, or both, and the connections can be formal or informal. 

who need to track the ecosystem of healthcare, public health, governmental, and social service providers in a community to provide whole person care.

who screen patients/clients on social determinants of health, including social connectedness.

who need to track the ecosystem of people and organizations that influence policy and legislative actions.

who fund multiple strategies that are based on collaborative approaches to solving big social problems.

who have strategies to coordinate community agencies and organizations to address community and population health issues.

who support ecosystem building efforts to support a specific population or cause.

who are hired to track the progress and health of a specific collaborative strategy.

Meet some of our clients & PARTNER users...

  • VNL is an amazing team of professionals who are actively building tools, like PARTNER, that we need to measure collaboration, networks, and more. They think outside of the box, and they are an innovative partner when it comes to trying to define and measure those things that are innately challenging.

    Katie Edwards

    Executive Director, Nonprofit Centers Nework
  • VNL is an essential partner in the field of public health, where we rely on the strength of partnerships and networks to build our capacity and build innovative approaches to health. We are constantly being asked to measure the impact of our work, without VNL and PARTNER we wouldn’t be able to measure or justify the need for partnership.

    Sarah Marie Ridder Lampe

    CEO, Trailhead Institute
  • PARTNER has become a valuable tool for me because it measures important aspects of organizational relationships that help me understand what does and does not work well in partnerships. It’s also a great tool because it is easy to modify and implement in community-based settings.  The VNL staff are not only expert social network analysts, but they are very attentive and easy to work with. I can’t imagine studying these types of relationships without them.

    Malcolm Williams, Ph.D.

    Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation

The PARTNER Method was developed through two decades of research and professional practice in measuring and tracking complex relationships. Firmly rooted in the core principals of network science, The PARTNER Method integrates a strategic, data-centered approach to measuring and tracking networks over time.


1 Shift Your Network Mindset

Drawing on the principles of network science, we walk through alternatives to the ‘more is better’ concept. For example, fewer partners thoughtfully selected to maximize bridging ties provides the same collaborative advantage with fewer needed resources. By the end of this step, you should understand how networks can be impactful, without expending all your resources.

2 Design Your Network Strategy

To make the most out of the data process, you need to have an intentional network strategy in place. In this step, we probe to identify the “ideal” network to achieve your desired network objective, based on identification of roles, targeted use of resources, and goals for reach and impact. This process allows us to set a benchmark for where things are and where they should be in the future.

3 Track Your Network Data

With your strategic foundation complete, we focus on the metrics you need to measure and track with the PARTNER Platform to inform your strategy and tactics. For example, you may track perceptions of trust and value, resource exchange, communication, and structure. By the end of step three you will have collected data that is ready to be analyzed and translated to practice.

4 Adapt Your Network with Insight

With data collection ongoing, you can begin to explore results and engage in sense-making exercises. In Step 4 we foster shared learning and problem solving, while maintaining strategy as our guiding principle. Our analysts, along with our Insights Library and resources can help you turn data into clear action steps and adjustments to your strategy to meet short and long-term goals.

5 Enact Your Strategy Action Steps

Finally, the data we collected, learning we’ve conducted, and action steps we create are implemented in your network to build capacity. Coaches and consultants work alongside network management to translate the date into practice. This could include building capacity and buy-in within your network; information gathering and research; coaching and consultation for strategic engagement, and more.