Building a tool kit to build partnerships

What 4-H clubs or members need to have in a sales tool kit for building partnerships.

Partnerships in the world of youth development programs are an essential ingredient to growing a program and remaining relevant in a complex and changing world. Michigan State University Extension has resources that can assist organizations in developing partnerships and growing a program.

When an organization decides to explore the opportunity of developing a partnership, one must have a clear picture of who they are as an organization. Developing a sales kit that allows you to “sell” your organization is imperative.

According to “Grow 4-H: Building Partnerships to Benefit Youth,” a training program developed by the University of Minnesota Extension and Iowa State University Extension, a good sales person knows their product and is able to market it to potential buyers. The same should be true for all youth serving organizations looking to “sell” their program. 4-H staff must be able to sell the organization to a partner.

When your organization begins the stages of developing a “tool kit,” it is important to begin by knowing the mission, vision, values and policies of your program. It is also important for the organization to have clear expectations of what they want or need in a partnership. Developing criteria as well as a list of “non-”negotiables allows an organization to stay true to their goals and objectives. Developing a partnership requires time and energy, making sure you are pursuing the right partnership as well as getting the most out of the relationship is important.

A tool kit will not look the same for every organization, nor will one tool kit work for all situations. When developing your tool box or sales kits, an organization must have multiple tools:

  • Elevator speech for the quick reference, two-minute snag.
  • Information sheet that can be utilized as a handout.
  • Notebook of materials you can share in a one-on-one setting.
  • Technical sales kit you can use in a large group, e.g., Power Point, video, etc.

According to “Grow 4-H: Building Partnerships to Benefit Youth,” when developing information for your sales kit or tool box, have the following answers:

  • What is 4-H Youth Development?
  • Why partner with 4-H Youth Development?
  • What do current members, alumni and partners say about 4-H Youth Development?
  • Why are we encouraging partnerships around club experiences?
  • What is a 4-H Youth Development “club” experience?
  • What are the organizations expectations of 4-H Youth Development and their partners?

Being able to have the right tools at the right time may lead your organization to developing a partnership that will benefit youth in the community. Be prepared, have a number of tools in your sales box and know your organization. Ultimately, partnerships can lead to growing your organizations and benefiting participants.

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