Have you ever wondered how or why Nonprofits are successful? When they are just that…non-profit. Of course, there are many reasons at play, but one of the most important is community partnerships. Community partnerships are relationships formed between different organizations to share information, services, and provide different types of support. These relationships can be with schools, corporate businesses, libraries, small businesses, other local nonprofits, and many more. The goal of this relationship is to benefit each side as well as strengthen our local community. These partnerships are especially important to nonprofits like Family Advocates as they provide networking and marketing opportunities, sponsorships, and even foundation grant funding. Family Advocates has many community partners such as Cardinal Academy, St. Luke’s, Hand in Hand, Cakes 4 Kids, Dutch Bros, Albertsons, and others.
Our Family Strengthening team does a lot of work with our partner Cardinal Academy. Cardinal Academy is a local Charter School that offers personalized academic programs for students, ages 14-21, who are parents or are expecting. Family Strengthening partners with Cardinal Academy to facilitate parenting classes with their students where they learn lessons on The Five Protective Factors, how to reduce stress, and strengthen their families. This partnership allows Family Advocates to reach the teen parent demographic, helps us serve more members in the community, and bridges relationships that benefit both organizations.
Another community partner we work with is Hand in Hand. Hand in Hand is an organization that provides parents with a mentor to help them gain knowledge, develop skills, and enjoy greater self-reliance. Similar to our values, Hand in Hand believes every family has strengths that, if nurtured, can bring about sustainable change and self-reliance. After parents work through our parenting course, but find they are still needing some extra support, we often refer them to Hand in Hand. Our participants can then take the tools and skills we provided, apply them in their lives, and have a mentor/friend to support them along the way. This partnership helps support members in our community to live healthier lives and provides Hand in Hand clients that are open to and in need of their services.
Cakes 4 Kids is also an amazing organization that partners with Family Advocates to help serve at risk and underserved youth– with cake! Cakes 4 Kids uses volunteers to create beautiful and thoughtful cakes to deliver to our CASA and FSEP children who otherwise wouldn’t have one. These underserved youth are children who may be in the foster care system, suffered abuse, homelessness, or other difficult paths in life that may have kept them from every having a birthday cake. This partnership provides our children with cakes on their birthdays to show them that they matter and that we care for them. Family Advocates connects Cakes 4 Kids with children that benefit from a cake on their special day or occasion.
Last month we had a STEM event sponsored by one of our partners, Hewlett Packard, where families were invited to learn about recycling, build Bristlebots, and have snacks. HP provided their volunteers, supplies, and food for families who were recently enrolled into our Family Strengthening Class. Our families learned how to build Bristlebots using a battery, toothbrush, tape, and popsicle sticks while learning about creative ways to recycle and the benefits of doing so. This event was such a fun and creative learning experience that inspired and engaged our families. Without HP, the cost of supplies and snacks, the knowledge of engineers, and the volunteer power wouldn’t have been possible with Family Advocates alone.
These are just a few highlights of the many partnerships we have across the Treasure Valley. The best part about them is the ripple effect created when we all collaborate together. Many organizations meet with their partners once a month to distribute information, talk about upcoming events, and resources each has to offer. This in turn allows each organization to market others’ services which then in turn allows all organizations involved to reach, support, and help the people of our community.
Another ripple effect that happens in partnerships is the networking and connection opportunities. All of the organizations Family Advocates work with have a mission of helping the members in our community; one way or another. Therefore, when you start to work with one organization, they may work with another organization they think would be a great asset for us (or vice versa) and provide a connection. Our partnerships also help us recruit and find people interested in volunteering whether it be their own volunteers, employees, friends and families, etc. These networks provide the ability to recruit a diverse group of volunteers to support our mission.
Family Advocates relies heavily on community partnerships when it comes to marketing our services. In the US, small businesses spend on average $10k-$50 on marketing and advertising per year. That is a lot of money for a nonprofit organization that could be spent on direct services to our children and families. However, with our partners, we are able to tap into their clientele, staff, board members, volunteers, supporters, and additional community partners by simply asking them to share what marketing we do have in return of our sharing their information. This exchange connects not only the partners, but the community in which they are located. The engagement creates a network of like services for those who need them. It also educates partners on what everyone is doing and sparks opportunity for further collaboration.
As you can tell, having community partners is part of the foundation for our success and it is partnerships like these that makes what Family Advocates does possible; with a lasting impact. The possibilities are endless!