Serve More with Great Partnerships There’s no better way to reach your service, fundraising and membership goals than to form successful partnerships in your community. Start a new alliance or improve existing partnerships with these tips and tools. A Running Partnership The Whitewater Guide Dogs of the Desert Lions Club in Palm Springs, California, credits the success of their annual Santa Paws 5K Run/Walk to stellar partnerships. Club President Alan Franks explains why. • “Both the Palm Springs Marathon Runners Club (PSMRC) and my club were looking for a fundraising vehicle that was doable and repeatable. We created a shared vision through the Santa Paws Run.” • “The partners bring different skill sets to the event—the PSMRC brings race organization and the Lions bring our community contacts for sponsorship and volunteers.” • “The first year we had 400 participants and raised $10,000 for Guide Dogs of the Desert. The second year we raised $17,000 with 600 attendees. We’re aiming for 1,000 runners this year. This partnership has provided us with local exposure, recruitment opportunities and a real sense of purpose. Five Tips from an Expert Author of “How to Jump-start Your Sponsorship Strategy in Tough Times,” Gail Bower is a consultant, coach, writer, and speaker who works with nonprofit organizations to increase revenue, visibility, and impact. Here she offers her top tips on creating successful alliances. 1. Think Strategy. Take a big picture view of your club and define areas that would benefit from partnering. Then ask yourselves what community relationships could be leveraged to expand your impact, increase funds and bring new resources. 2. Choose the Right Partners. Partnerships take time, effort and honest communication. Define the ways that you’ll both be and attract the best partners. Avoid partners that may not be a good fit. 3.Determine Outcomes. Is your partner interested in finding potential clients, attracting new customers or generating visibility? Understand and support their desired outcomes and goals. 4. Build Relationships. Strong partnerships are rooted in relationships. Have your partners’ best interests at heart and work toward ensuring that their—and your—needs are met. 5. Think Ahead.As you build your relationships, your partnerships can blossom in new ways. Having a long-term perspective will keep the creativity and impact of partnerships alive. Partnership Do’s and Don’ts “DO make sure that you educate partners on what the Lions club is, our mission and what we do.” – Lisa Barker, Humboldt Lions Club, Tennessee “DO reach out to businesses. Everyone we called said ‘Yes!’ to our request to help with a very successful firsttime event. They were flattered to have been asked.” – Kim Giles, Waco Women’s Lions Club, Texas “DON’T forget to honor your partners. Our club annually selects a community partner of the year. We present a plaque and publish it in the newspapers.” – Tom Rayfield, Belton Host Lions Club, Missouri Just a Click Away: LCI Resources Check out the LCI webinar, Working Together to Relieve Hunger, to learn best practices for coordinating with food banking partners on this current Global Service Action Campaign.
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