> Partnership Evolution
> Sustaining Involvement
You know the impact and outcomes you’re after and you’ve written them down. You’ve identified potential stakeholders, their organizations and constituencies and their role in the community. You’ve outlined a strategic approach to each key stakeholder and rephrased your desired impact as needed. You’ve approached each stakeholder to support you or not block you, and you’ve reached some level of agreement. Now, since this is about creating a win-win situation, what are you doing to sustain their involvement?
This eight-step process will help:
Step 1. Know what impact and key outcomes you want to achieve and your key outcomes. Track your successes. No matter what you do, never lose sight of what you are trying to achieve and how well you’re doing it.
Step 2. List all the stakeholders whose involvement you want to sustain, plus their organizations and/or constituencies. Note which stakeholders are key to your success.
Step 3. State, according to what you have learned, what each stakeholder needs to support or at least not oppose what you are trying to achieve.
Step 4. Describe what you have offered to provide the stakeholder.
Step 5. List what you have provided to date.
Step 6. Note what you still need to do for the stakeholder and by when.
Step 7. Record when the stakeholder was last contacted.
Step 8. Decide who will next contact the stakeholder, for what reason and when.
Sustaining involvement of key stakeholders comes down to networking and building relationships within the community. In large part, it’s always exploratory: You’re continually finding your way through the political waters of the community. You’re learning about its movers and shakers. You are building rapport with them by finding out more about them, how they fit into the community and how they influence change. You’re engaging them in dialogue while offering them help. Thus, you are laying the foundation for requests for support, funds and other resources. And you’re sustaining their support by maintaining these relationships over time.