Social workers are superior collaborators. They must know more than the average person about who is doing what (and why) in a given community, and they often depend on a complex network of supporters to sustain valuable services for residents.
Just as every private practitioner should have a marketing plan to grow their small business, every organization should have a communications strategy, which includes marketing, public relations, social media, fundraising, and partner development tactics. Take the time to explore new areas of partnership that may increase knowledge about and support for the social work profession in your community.
Below are some of the types of partnerships that you can consider for an endorsement, event participation, joint advocacy, program funding and more.
Elected officials and their staffs, government agencies, lobbyists and advocacy groups are all working to advance policies that improve some facet of civic life. NASW Chapters have a good pulse on which leaders support what issues at the state capitol and beyond.
Hundreds of reporters, anchors, bloggers and producers care about important social issues. Find out which media people produce the most content in your issue area and introduce your organization. Partner activities might include special stories, online content, event sponsorship or public service announcements.
Many nonprofit and government organizations have found that partnering, and even co-locating, services with each other can improve operational efficiencies and client results.
Does another group provide a complementary service that would enhance your offerings?
Foundations, cultural institutions, think tanks and universities want to support organizations that have the most impact on improving community life. Identify social work staff at the most respected philanthropic organizations in your community and invite them to an upcoming event at your organization.
Schools of Social Work depend on numerous relationships with community organizations to provide field practicum internships for social work students every year. If your employer does not already participate, encourage them to get involved.
When leveraged well, business and civic alliances can add the financial wherewithal to provide significant visibility and resources to engage the public in your organization’s work. However, it is important to work with the right companies, in the right ways. The biggest asset a nonprofit has is the trust of its constituents and the wrong alliance could damage the trust in your mission, commitments, and values.