Our panel discussion at the Preservation Month regional workshop in Fort Davis focused on how to cultivate healthy partnerships that contribute to the bigger picture of achieving your organizational mission. We were fortunate to have 3 community leaders from the region to participate in this panel discussion: Tom Michael, Beth Nobles, and Liz Jackson.
What became clear when speaking with these individuals was that partnerships were a fundamental part of each of their missions. What became even clearer after spending the day with our workshop attendees was that developing healthy partnerships is required to achieve any mission. They also help us work toward all of the Statewide Plan goals.
Ideas generated by our guest panel discussion:
Liz Jackson, executive director of the Museum of the Big Bend www.sulross.edu/museum.
- Partnerships can evolve naturally when you take time to find common ground and express interest in another organization’s livelihood
- Take time to nurture ongoing partnerships and to broaden your circles of influence
- Have an open perspective when initiating new partnerships—don’t be consumed with, “what can you do for me,” but consider how you can enhance their efforts
- Your ability to help others accomplish their mission will create partnerships that can lead to long-term exchanges of support for all partners
Tom Michael, general manager of Marfa Public Radio www.marfapublicradio.org.
- Quality partnerships attract funding; funders look for groups that are working together to contribute new and better services to their community
- Partners can testify to the worth of your organization and mission; these testimonials can help expand your audience and potential sources of funding
- Although it does take time/effort to provide opportunities for people to become engaged in your organization, the privilege of providing more dynamic activities and more creative solutions makes that time an investment in your organization and in a healthier community
- Identify expertise within your community and provide partnering opportunities that leverage these skills for a more meaningful project and/or experience
Beth Nobles, executive director of the Texas Mountain Trails Region www.texasmountaintrail.com.
- Create ways for your organization to attach to non-traditional partners to help build a broader audience for your cause
- Volunteers and financial support for your project exist in unlikely places; social media can be a very effective and relatively inexpensive way to draw out this untapped support
- Flexibility and patience when working with partners enables a project or event to grow and expand; consider letting go of a singular vision in order to allow new ideas to emerge
- Think regionally—plan ahead, pool resources, share information, and promote events in such a way that your region is positively impacted (not just your community)
Many thanks to Liz, Tom, and Beth for participating in our panel discussion and for their contribution to Texas communities. Part 3 of our Fort Davis workshop experience will cover our attendees’ consensus exercise and their collective solutions to improve the way we work toward healthy partnerships. If you missed Part 1, click here. Stay tuned!