If you’ve been following our other posts on creating a sustainability plan, you’ve built a foundation for solid sustainability planning and have begun to outline the desired results and strategies your organization will pursue in order to be sustainable long into the future.  

Now comes the really good news: You don’t have to do this alone!  Key elements in not just sustainability planning, but in actually creating a sustainable organization, are developing  strategic partnerships, building broad-based community support and seeking key champions.

Strategic Partnerships

With few exceptions, creating positive results for the community depends on the coordinated efforts of multiple organizations.

  Strategic partnerships, including ongoing collaborations, are therefore important to consider in a sustainability plan. Identify other organizations in your community that touch the lives of those you serve and think about how you might collaborate for the mutual benefit of your clients. Invite the executive directors of these organizations to coffee or lunch to think through how a collaboration might elevate the work of your organization and theirs. 

Active Community Support

Sustaining an organization also demands active community support. An organization needs a sizable number of people from the public at large to express awareness of and support for the organization.   When an organization has broad-based community support, it shows up through volunteerism, donations, advocacy, letters of support, and other forms of involvement. These types of support and involvement lead to achievement of the organization’s long term results.

Key Champions

Key champions and other supporters need a message about your organization they can deliver authentically. If your mission and vision are compelling, they can be a starting place for messaging. In a future blog series we will explore how you can stay connected with key champions and how to use communication tools to foster partnerships and broad-based community support.  For now, consider how you might equip your key champions, strategic partners, and others with the right language to help them continue to extend your network. 

Think back to the first blog in our sustainability series, we noted that by committing to developing your sustainability plan, you are working on several things at once­­–fund development, program operations, and addressing client and community needs. Nowhere is this truer than in identifying key champions, fostering strategic partnerships, and developing broad-based community support. The champions and partners that connect with your organization’s mission can help you achieve all of these things. 

Join us for Part V of this series soon, as we explore the importance of strong internal systems.