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Working with the Eppley Institute

March 5, 2014

When an organization starts working with the Eppley Institute, we like to think that our staff makes all our joint collaborations easy and effective. We have an active process evaluation system for projects. This ensures our partners’ needs and deliverables are clearly identified, challenges and hindrances are overcome together, and we collectively strive to develop and complete the best project possible. Our values; excellence, improvement, responsiveness, Solved-by-eppley-instituteinquiry, unity, and accountability, keep us centered on meeting the goals and expectations of our partners.

“..excellence, improvement, responsiveness, inquiry, unity, and accountability”

It seems that the hardest thing we have to overcome when non-profits, government agencies, or private firms want to collaborate with the Eppley Institute is finding the right tool to foster an effective partnership. Typically, when combining two or more organizations with complementary missions but different management requirements, the result is often overwhelming confusion. Luckily, with the support of Indiana University over the years, the Eppley Institute has developed six different methods to allow a local, state, or federal government; non-profit; or private venture to successfully partner with us.

  • Proposal Request– Often Eppley, either by itself or along with other entities, is asked to provide a proposal in response to a Request for Proposals. In these cases, the Eppley Institute (perhaps with another private partner) will develop a proposal explaining the Institute’s qualifications, approach, pricing structure, and understanding of the proposed scope of work. For an example, please see the Boulder Park and Recreation Master Plan project profile completed in 2014.
  • Qualifications Statement– Some organizations ask for a qualifications statement rather than a proposal to perform a scope of work. This approach allows the selecting organization to just evaluate the Eppley Institute’s qualifications and past experience in performing similar work (sometimes against other firms who have been asked to provide the same statement). The benefit to this approach is that it allows the sponsoring partner the flexibility to negotiate a scope directly with the Eppley Institute based on the funding that is available. This in turn allows the sponsoring partner, due to the Institute’s unique position as a service arm of Indiana University, to get ‘more bang for the buck.’ The partner and Institute develop a collaborative scope featuring shared tasks, reused concepts or ideas being used, and efficiencies with which a partner may not be familiar. The City of Fairfield, OH has used this method before and an example can be found in the Fairfield Park and Recreation Department project profiles attached.
  • Cooperative Agreement– Working federal agencies can not only directly discuss ways to partner with the Institute (or ask the Institute to make a proposal for comparison to other non-profits and/or universities), but also can discuss a proposed work statement that results in a project, product, or other program that benefits the public. This public proposal allows the agency to directly contact the Eppley Institute, discuss and negotiate a scope, and work with significant involvement in a joint project team to complete a statement of work. The Institute does this frequently and represents Indiana University as a technical representative to two federal Cooperative Ecosystem Study Units (www.cesu.psu.edu) which allow for this type of partnership. An example of this type of arrangement is the National Park Service-Eppley Institute partnership for the Interpretive Development Program, an e-learning and training program for seasonal, part-time, volunteer, and developing interpreters at www.interptraining.org.
  • GSA Contract– As a part of Indiana University, the Eppley Institute is registered on the Government Services Administration (GSA) list of approved vendors who are available to federal, state, and local agencies under a pre-negotiated contract, fees, and type of services. Eppley uses this approach with federal agencies who then simply request a technical proposal from Eppley regarding scope and a firm fixed fee for a project. The process is fairly fast and features locked in rates and business requirements for contractual personnel. The Institute (and Indiana University) is available to perform Mission Oriented Business Implementation Services, or MOBIS, for any federal, state, or local agency under this arrangement. An example of this approach of working with the Institute is found in the NPS Park Facility Management Division facility management profiles.
  • Negotiated Contract– As a government agency, a partner can directly contact the Institute and negotiate a contract for services. The Institute is not required to make proposals, statements of qualifications or any pre-contract negotiation submittals to a potential partner. If local, state or federal agency is allowed by law, or private or non-profit entities procedures allow it, the sponsoring partner can directly negotiate a contract, fee, and scope of work with the Institute. This keeps overhead costs to a minimum and allows the potential partner to maximize the effective use of funding toward a project, program or service. An example of this approach was used by Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts as in this project profile
  • Cost-Revenue Share Agreement– In some cases, where a partner needs training or online learning and wishes to enter into an arrangement with the Eppley Institute, a joint-venture is discussed, documented, and an agreement negotiated to share costs and subsequent revenues in a pre-determined matter. Many e-courses, training projects, and programs custom developed for a partner, benefit from the approach of accessing Eppley’s E-learning and Training System (ETS). ETS provides a Learning Management Service, secure paycart for collection of fees and most importantly award winning, high quality, online learning custom designed for partner’s needs. The partner’s contributions, logo, links to website, and pertinent information is added to the ETS and joint marketing is implemented. This approach is best represented by the International Park and Recreation Federation (Ifpra) Academy certification programs.

The Eppley Institute has award winning, standard exceeding services which, for the past 20 years, have served over 60 partners, and is available to continue to create highly satisfied partners. The mystery of how a local, state, or federal agency, or a private or non-profit entity can enter into a long and beneficial sponsoring partnership with the Institute has been solved! If the preceding short description leaves questions or you want to learn more, contact us at eppley@indiana.edu or call 812.855.3095.

About the author

Stephen Wolter
Steve Wolter has been with the Eppley Insitute for Parks and Public Lands since 1996, and Executive Director since 2003. Steve has been a professional in the Parks and Recreation field for more than 25 years, and also holds an assistant professorship at Indiana University, where he teaches courses including leadership, philanthropy, and information technology.

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