Children and Youth Funding Report

Collaboration, Partnerships Can Extend Funding Dollars

We at CD Publications have always been big fans of partnerships, whether they are public-private or as simply a collection of private organizations. The essential advice here is to diversify your local funding stream to make sure you have adequate resources if one funder dries up and disappears. And, under the Obama administration, the feds have been pushing collaboration and partnerships in the federal Request for Proposal (RFP) process.  Such insistence on collaboration is starting to show up in private RFPs as well. Each prospective partner has unique reasons for participating in a public-private partnership for youth programs. Recognizing these reasons makes it easier to understand how and why partnerships are able to mobilize public and private resources to improve and expand supports, services, and opportunities for youth. 10 Steps Have clear goals -- Collectively defining goals gives all partners ownership of the partnership. This increases the likelihood that partners will stay committed. Focus on results and measure progress -- Defining and setting benchmarks of success are an important way to measure your progress but also to identify challenges and make smart decisions, based on how and where the initiative is going. Involve youth and families in developing programs -- Engaging youth and families in planning and evaluating programs helps ensure partnerships achieve their purpose and maintain high quality services. They can also ensure that they're culturally appropriate and meeting the needs of communities. Engage diverse stakeholders from the start -- Establishing a diverse stakeholder group (youth, parents, non-profits, and other community groups, as well as business and foundation leaders and local government representatives) helps gain broader public and private support. Rely on community champions for support -- Cultivating key champions (religious and other community and non-profit leaders, government officials, foundations, and business leaders) can bring stronger interest and visibility to...

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