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April 24, 2015

Earlier this month, Y4Y hosted a panel discussion and webinar on building an advisory board and collaborating with your parents and community members to support students and activities. Follow the link to hear the panelists’ authentic and practical approaches for establishing and maintaining strong advisory boards. 


What happens when you truly collaborate with families and communities? According to our Y4Y panelists, you will gain access to the voices and talents of your community. You will find ways to enhance your program — directly, through alternate and additional funding sources, and indirectly through empowering parents and building their capacity. For more about how to develop such win-win relationships, see The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships.


Whether you have established an advisory board or intend to do so, Y4Y offers some great tools to help you get going and keep track of what you’re doing. Here are short descriptions and quick links to those tools.

Communication and Collaboration Checklist
Although this tool focuses on fostering good relationships between your program and the schools your students attend, it can easily be customized to include connecting with families and community members. It also helps you think about your short-term and long-term goals and action steps. 

Identifying Partners
Here’s a tool to help you identify your community resources and think about potential members for your parent-community advisory board. After you establish a board, continue to conduct a community inventory every two or three years so you don’t miss any important connections. 

Volunteer Job Description
Before you invite people to join your parent-community advisory board, we recommend preparing a volunteer job description. Get this template in the Y4Y portal, and customize it to fit the specifics of your advisory board. 

Volunteer Skills Grid
As you connect with people who express interest in becoming board members, ask them to complete this simple form to share their skills, interests and available time. Just delete the examples from the grid before distributing to members to fill out.

June 14, 2013

The Identifying Partners tool on Y4Y can help you take stock of the valuable resources – individuals, organizations, and groups – that have great potential for partnership with your program.

As you look down the list of partners on the tool, think about who else in your local area serves the same population of young people or follows a similar mission as your program’s. By partnering and pooling together resources, you can deepen your impact and provide more of the support that your students need.  

June 14, 2013

Y4Y offers many strategies for strengthening partnerships, plus a wealth of practical tools that programs can use to implement those strategies. One set of tools guides you in creating a Memorandum of Understanding, also known as an MOU, an agreement that two organizations sign to formalize their partnership. The MOU presents the reason and the goals for the partnership, the perspectives and the roles of both organizations, and how to measure the success of the partnership. Y4Y makes MOUs easy by providing the following tools:

Sample Memorandum of Understanding - See an MOU that another program has created.

Developing an Effective Memorandum of Understanding - Check out this document for examples of language and partnership roles appropriate for an MOU.

Memorandum of Understanding Tool - Fill in the blanks to create your own MOU.

Memorandum of Understanding Template - Use this for more detailed guidance in creating your MOU.  

June 14, 2013

With such a busy year coming to a close, you may be looking back and wishing you had done more this year to engage partners. Looking ahead, you can plan for a robust partnership maintenance plan next school year. Signing a partner on board is just the beginning, and sustaining the relationship is critical to long-term success. You can start on this course by thinking through some possibilities for maintaining a good relationship with each of your partners. The Maintaining Partnerships tool on Y4Y provides some suggestions that you can personalize in a way that fits with your partners.

Then, take a look at this Coaching Moment on Y4Y, where these ideas and others are mapped out on a calendar and fleshed out with some details. As you start to set next year’s program calendar with field trips, staff development sessions, and family engagement events, you can also include the activities you’ll do to keep your partnerships strong and long-lasting.  

June 14, 2013

Did you miss the Coffee Break webinar last week when we highlighted several great resources on Y4Y for strengthening partnerships? Don’t worry – all of the tips and tools we talked about are still right at your fingertips. A recording of the webinar is available on Y4Y along with a list of the resources we discussed right in the Archived Webinars section. So if you weren’t able to attend or you want to watch it again and share it with your team, Y4Y has you covered. You can access archived recordings of all our webinars any time, on demand, at your convenience.

If you want to start using some of the tools we showcased, just click, print, and implement.

1) Train staff in working with volunteers so the whole team is ready to go.

2) Get to know volunteers better so they can make the best possible contribution to your program with a volunteer skills grid.

3) Prepare all staff to be helpful coaches for the program’s volunteers using these scenarios.

4) Find evaluation examples from CYFERNet so you can share concrete data with partners and let them know what impact they’re having.

5) Read up on what makes a successful partnership, according to The Finance Project.