Community partnerships go hand in hand with community health and advocacy training. While essential, coordinating needs, goals and communication must be effectively time-managed.
Who should be my community partners? How many partners do I need?
Create a vision for partnerships, focusing on the synergy of relationships. Identify your passion or the interests of others in your program and look for others in the community who are committed to those health needs too.
Some partnerships may be integral and others may exist when a need arises, with opportunity for developing those relationships.
How many and which partnerships you need will depend on what exists in your community and what your goals are.
How do I make sure my needs align with those of the community?
Make certain to hear the voice of your community. Engage families and community leaders as part of your team.
Begin with a small group of community partners with common goals, achieve small tasks together, and then expand and build on that.
Start small, build trust, dream big.
Are the partnerships mutually beneficial?
Invest in building and maintaining effective partnerships that enrich both parties. Foster relationships that value the time, capacity and additional priorities or responsibilities of each.
Authentic partnerships have active leadership and participation from both sides, work towards aligned goals and support each other's needs.
How do I sustain each relationship?
Nourish each partnership by maintaining open, honest communication. Show appreciation of the community leaders' contributions and learn from them.
The nature of partnerships may change over time. Keep an open mind about opportunities to build on your relationships but know that some partnerships will not last forever. Be mindful of the needs of your partners and make sure you work to meet them.
Monitor satisfaction through periodic surveys to see if the community organization's and/or resident experience is reaching the goals you have set.
How do I manage the time commitment?
Proactively address scheduling and communication styles/ approaches with partners. Try to establish standing meetings, and make certain to re-visit frequency and duration with partners on a regular basis.
Time commitment is typically heaviest at the beginning of a new relationship. Delegate responsibilities to others on your team but ensure each partner has a consistent contact person.