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NGO-Foundation Partnerships: What can we learn from the Tango?

Ever wondered about what makes partnerships between NGOs and grant-making Foundations successful? 

It's a question that frequently comes my way, and my response consistently draws from the metaphor of the Tango, a popular dance from Latin America.

In my opinion, the Tango embodies profound connection, effective communication, and unwavering commitment together with skills that are developed with the support of a guide.

So what can we learn from the art of the Tango?


Expressions, nuanced movements, and body language are forms of communication which contribute to the success of the Tango. These mirror the essential role of communication in NGO and Foundation partnerships, where clear articulation of goals, expectations, and shared values lay the ground for the pursuit of a common mission.


The Tango thrives on profound connection, trust, and alignment between the dancers. This mirrors the necessary connection between Foundations and NGOs, involving the building of trust, aligning purposes, and connecting visions to deliver impact. 


Dedication to both the art form and the partnership is indispensable in the Tango. Similarly, in impactful partnerships, an unwavering commitment to fostering positive change is essential. 

In essence, the Three Cs of the Tango intertwine to create a synergy that transforms individual movements into a mesmerizing dance, serving as a metaphor to highlight the key elements of successful partnerships between NGOs and Foundations.

The success of it all would not be possible without the help of a dedicated and supportive guide.

Whether you're a grant seeker or a grantmaker, let's engage in a conversation about how to build partnerships that deliver change.

Stay tuned for additional best practices and insights coming your way in 2024. I welcome your feedback and suggestions for topics you'd like me to explore.

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