> Partnership Evolution
> Attracting Support
This is the last of 9 units of CPFOA’s Partnership Evolution
Raising awareness of your partnership is a crucial aspect of attracting the necessary community support to sustain your partnership. This requires marketing public relations.
Yet marketing on a small budget calls for unusual creativity . Indeed, even with limited funding, you still have to promote your partnership and find ways to show how your collaboration is having a positive impact on the lives of older adults and the greater community. Not communicating these results consistently and repeatedly means your good efforts won’t be well known and you’ll likely not receive the community-wide support you need over the long-term.
Like it or not, you live in a world of marketing and over-communicating to attract attention to worthy causes. And you not only have to be part of that world, you have to be central to it.
As a part of marketing public relations, the previous unit, Sustaining Involvement of Key Stakeholders, focused on diving into the political pool, networking your way to key influencers in the community, and winning them over. Another part of MPR, a strategic communications plan, is covered in detail in the Communications section of this Web site.
To further your effort, this unit takes a broader approach. Its aim is to help you create the image that your partnership’s efforts are central to the vitality of the community and that building relationships with constituents to help sustain your work.
To build constituencies, you first need prospects, including older adults, contributors, policymakers, funders and community leaders. Marketers have long known that there are four stages that prospects pass through during any public relations initiative:
- Prospects have to be aware of what you offer.
- Prospects have to prefer what you have over any competition.
- Prospects have to acquire (support) what you offer.
- Prospects have to be satisfied with what they’ve acquired (supported).
These steps are interdependent, and their order cannot be changed. If you complete the first two (awareness and preference) effectively, the third one, acquisition, will follow. Once your constituencies acquire/support what you provide, though, you must continue working on the first two steps to keep your community and supporters satisfied.
To these four stages, you must add one more thing: perseverance. Since you likely won’t have access to the big MPR agencies that large companies use, nor their financial resources, you have to work harder, always trying new ways of marketing.
This unit provides four MPR strategies to communicate your partnership’s image and bolster support for long-term sustainability:
Build Community Awareness of Your Impact
Build Community Awareness of Your Impact is the first and most important part of attracting support to succeed. This section points out how to create a results-based message, position your partnership in a unique way, and get your information out by segmenting communications to reach—and attract—key stakeholders.
Create a Preference for What You Offer with the Constituencies You Want to Reach
Create a Preference for What You Offer with the Constituencies You Want to Reach points out that beyond getting your message out, you have to make people in the community feel good about supporting your partnership.
You do that by creating a strong image or a brand identity. You also make people feel good by linking the work of your partnership with the goals of others, such as local businesspeople, philanthropists, nonprofit groups and artists.
Ensure What You Provide Will Be Acquired and Supported
Ensure What You Provide Will Be Acquired and Supported shows how to manage the responses you receive from building awareness of your message and creating a preference for your partnership. This section further guides you on how to qualify leads, follow up on them and make proposals that bring in the resources you need.
Keep Your Constituencies Satisfied
Keep Your Constituencies Satisfied stresses the importance of maintaining the community relationships you have worked to build by taking them to a more personal level, surveying constituents, asking their opinions, checking in, using champions, getting testimonials and saying thank you. Above all, this section encourages you to persevere. It’s the hard work with a dash of audacity that brings success.