Friday, May 18, 2012

Who are our Partners?

This was the topic of discussion at our webinar meeting last week.  Most of us partner with other groups or individuals on some level.  If you represent a friends group or foundation, your reserve is one of your primary partners. Other partnerships may include; volunteers, schools, businesses, other non-profits and government groups as well. 

While the focus of the discussion was on WHO we partner with – we did discuss a few tips on how to develop successful partnerships*.  Here are a few…
  1. Approach your partners with information on how YOU can help them.
  2. Think about long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
  3. Consider partnerships with groups that are already supporting your organization/reserve.
We also discussed ideas on ways NERRA can help create or expand relationships on a national or regional level.  Please feel free to contact me or Rebecca Roth if you have any ideas you would like to share.  We welcome your input!

If you have an example of a successful partnership (or lessons learned from a not-so-successful partnership) that might be interesting or beneficial to other friends and foundations, please feel free to write about it here. 

“A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests,,,, Partnerships are also common regardless of and among sectors. Non-profit, religious, and political organizations, may partner together to increase the likelihood of each achieving their mission and to amplify their reach.”  - Wikipedia

* Thanks to Kay and Walter for emailing us all the interp newsletter with some great points!  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Walter Ernest, Executive Director, Weeks Bay Foundation for this comment....

    There are numerous organizations that a reserve friend group can partner with. One thing I would strongly encourage FFN groups to do is stay engaged with your local chamber of commerce and school board. The chamber will help connect the organization to the business community and keep you updated on important economic swings or trends in your service area. The school board can assist the reserve in numerous ways related to the educational side of the mission.

    We partner a good deal with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). That is a 5 state Gulf of Mexico regional partnership that was established by the governors of the 5 Gulf of Mexico coastal states. Jeb Busch created GOMA when he was governor of FL. There are several regional ocean partnerships in the US. I think the Great Lakes and the Atlantic region have one , We have received grants from the NOAA Coastal Services Center. , USFWS Partners Program , USFWS Coastal Program, Mobile Bay NEP and several other non profit groups. A good source of information from a fund raising stand point is the local chapter of American Fund Raising Professionals (AFP) That can expose the organization to other organizations that you may be able to get ideas from and partner with. We also have a good relationship with the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF), Mobile Bay Keeper, Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) , and Coastal Conservation Association of AL. We were able to receive an Americorps Vista via a grant from the ACF and Mobile Bay Keeper. We were one of 6 organizations that have participated in that program. We also partner with our local County Commission and the cities that are in the WBF boundary. This has been helpful in procuring grants and raising awareness of the organization.

    In closing I want to point out that we have been able to partner with all 5 Gulf of Mexico NERRS Coastal Training Programs on numerous grants. The Foundation has handled the grant and hired the contractor to conduct the work. We are able to do this because we pay our bills faster than the state agency and our indirect is very low. I think this has been a great benefit for all of the Gulf of Mexico Reserves and it has advanced the mission of the NERRS Coastal Training Program. We have also had numerous Weeks Bay grants granted to the Foundation from the state agency that administers the Grand Bay Reserve. MS DMR. We are set up as a state vendor in the state of AL, MS, and FL. I think this had made it easier for the reserve to receive numerous out of state grants that involve partnering with other reserves. I do not know if this information is helpful, but ,in these trying economic times we must think out of the box on ways that we can partner with other organizations to assist the reserve and the friends group in achieving our mission. The Land Trust Alliance has been and River Network have provided capacity building services.

    Have a great weekend.

    Walter C. Ernest, IV
    Executive Director
    Weeks Bay Foundation