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June 5, 2013

Is your program seeking additional resources to get next school year off to a great start? In this e-blast, the Y4Y team offers a three-step plan for bolstering your partnership efforts. Tackle just one task each month and you’ll have stronger relationships in place by Labor Day.

First, though, take a moment to absorb the many functions a partner can play in supporting your program. This list from the Learn section of Strengthening Partnerships demonstrates the great potential that’s right down the road. Reach out to others in your community to sell your program. You may find partners that you never knew existed—interested parents, local businesses, civic leaders, churches and other community organizations.

Think about the creativity, energy, and color that a small arts organization could add to your enrichment time by sharing staff as volunteers a few hours per week. What about the wisdom, humor, and guidance that members of local faith-based organizations could provide through biweekly mentoring? The hardware store’s scraps can become versatile supplies for your art corner. And don’t forget the evaluation services a graduate student at the nearby university might be able to provide, pro bono.

Now you’re ready to get started on your to-do list. Keep us posted on your progress through the summer by joining the Partnerships Summer Project Discussion Board conversation.  

June 5, 2013

Partners want to help, but they have many competing demands for their attention and their time. Your program needs its moment of fame to spark a potential partner’s interest. To get a partner on board, you should communicate concisely and specifically about your program: what’s so great about it, what it needs, and exactly how the partner can help. A 30-60 second elevator pitch is terrific to have ready, to roll off your tongue in case you run into a potential partner at an event, a meeting, or even at the grocery store!

Use this tool from Y4Y for guidance in developing your elevator pitch. Then once you have it ready, practice in front of a mirror and with colleagues and family members to get it down pat.

After you’ve mastered your elevator pitch, you can check off your June to-do!  

June 5, 2013

Human resources can be some of the most valuable assets a partner can offer. The extra pair of hands, enthusiastic smiles for the kids, and a wealth of expertise and skills go a long way in an afterschool program. The tricky part of inviting volunteers on board is making sure they have enough to do and the right tasks to do. If you’ve ever had 15 volunteers show up to a garden ground-breaking, for instance, you know the importance of matching volunteers’ skills with the program’s needs as well as providing the appropriate resources and guidance for the volunteers. You don’t want to have five people sharing one shovel, seven helpers milling around with nothing to do, and three people taking over the lion’s share of the work.

Think about where and when volunteers can be helpful in your program. Then use this tool from Y4Y to write job descriptions for the various roles they can play. You can even use these job descriptions to advertise volunteer opportunities in the community. When potential volunteers see the details, they’ll know whether or not the role is a good one for them.

Once you’ve finalized your volunteer job description, you can check off your July to-do!  

June 5, 2013

One way to keep partners involved for the long term is to honor their contribution, support, and commitment. Partners have many different reasons for collaborating with your program, and for the most part they are driven by a selfless wish to give back to the community. Still, everyone enjoys some acknowledgement for their good deeds.

In some cases, your program may want to recognize partners publicly, as in a press release or on a banner with their name and logo. Private recognition through small tokens of appreciation, letters, or special ceremonies can also be appropriate. Find some other ideas on this maintaining partnerships planning tool from Y4Y.

It’s up to you and your staff – and even the youth in your program! – to determine the best way to recognize your partners. Get together for a staff training session to brainstorm and develop plans for partner recognition. Use this Honoring Partners Training Starter from Y4Y to guide your session. You can customize the training plan with your own ideas to really target the partnerships your program has.

After you’ve hosted your Honoring Partners training session, you can check off your August to-do, and you’ll be heading into fall with a whole new strategy for building and maintaining strong partnerships in the local community!

And, finally, don’t forget to communicate regularly with your partners and involve them in your planning and team meetings. Communication leads to better cooperation, which helps partnerships last longer and have greater impact.  

May 16, 2013

Did you miss the Coffee Break webinar in April when we highlighted several great resources on Y4Y for summer planning? 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 Webinar Archive section. So if you weren’t able to attend or if you just want to watch it again and share it with your team, Y4Y has you covered. You can access 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) Zero in on the six core elements of alignment

2) Train staff with this ready-made PowerPoint about making content count

3) Get going with exciting projects using this planner

4) Exploring and playing go surprisingly well with some serious STEM skill-building

5) Fill summer days with fun and eye-opening STEM activities

6) In the pool, on the courts, at the zoo – help staff see that STEM is everywhere