About Partnership Building
Building public and private partnerships is the basis for developing a strong chorus of voices to influence policymakers. Policymakers expect program providers to be seeking additional funds for access and quality, but will be impressed when a broad range of stakeholders is collaboratively engaged. Potential partners want to know:
- Does this partnership fit with our mission and vision?
- How will this partnership help our organization serve our constituents?
- Will we have a say on policy and activities of the statewide afterschool network?
- What is the cost to our organization (time, money and staff)?
- What other partners are involved?
- Most statewide afterschool networks have at least 20 partners.
- Although it may take longer for coalitions or organizations of diverse entities to agree on a policy or program element, the time needed for implementation is shorter, because the group has made a decision together.
- The collective membership of organizations brings political weight to ideas and policies that the network supports.
- If partners can make an impact on something important to their constituency without a huge investment, they will be more inclined to support the partnership.
Strategies to Support Partnership Building
- Determine likely allies to develop policies supporting afterschool and expanded learning.
- Develop an interview questionnaire and sit down face-to-face with potential partners, so you are doing research and engagement at the same time.
- Reference network profiles for partners involved in other networks.
Address specific audiences by framing issues around specific topics in afterschool and expanded learning according to specific audiences.