February 2011 - Parks & Recreation - 16

Who, What, Where & how Around the Parks

HOW WE DID IT

The Value of Partnerships
Kansas Recreation and Park Association partners its way to success
By Doug Vance

M

M

FEBRUARY 2011

CO

14	 Parks & Recreation

BlueCHIP
UN
ITY
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RA
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artnerships represent
meaningful opportunities
for a state association to advance its goals and promote
its mission and vision statements. They often open doors to possible new revenue streams, to increasing
your advocacy network, and to enhancing your association's position as a state
leader in endeavors that are important to
your members. The old fundraising adage that " to raise money you have to raise
friends " applies to the concept of partnerships. The association you represent can
grow in many ways by expanding your
list of partners who, in essence, bring value to your association and provide additional forces to support your efforts.
Partnerships can serve as the building
blocks that help to establish, amplify, and
communicate your purpose. As a nonprofit organization, we exist as a change agent
and we often need supporting agencies
to help champion our cause. As executive director of the Kansas Recreation and
Park Association (KRPA), I've put a premium on finding partners or alliances that
either provide us immediate benefits or
have the potential to contribute to our efforts at some point in the future.
Partnerships can be formed in two
ways. They can be formal and structured with a signed letter of agreement which spells out how each entity
will contribute to the other; or they can
be informal, existing through a handshake and a verbal understanding of
how the two entities will work together. The establishment of a partnership
requires just two simple items: two organizations that see value in merging

EALTH

IMPROVEME

P
NT

G
RO

Kansas Recreation and Park
Association partnered with Blue Cross
Blue Shield of Kansas to establish an
awards program honoring healthy
lifestyle leaders.

their potential for improvement under
the same umbrella.
Also, we view the opportunity for
partnership connections in two categories: We have a network of partners
who are either from the nonprofit world
or represent state government and, secondly, we have a list of partners who are
engaged in support through our Business Partnership Program. The second
category includes commercial entities
who invest in and support our programs
financially in return for enhanced exposure benefits. Our Business Partnership
Program last year brought an additional
$20,000 to support our state conference.
The landscape within your state
should offer many possibilities for you
to add partners. When we see an organization that appears to be pushing

w w w . NR P A . ORG

forward an agenda that matches ours,
we contact them to discuss the possibility of forwarding that agenda together in
partnership.

Meet our Partners
■■  American Heart Association. KRPA
has a written agreement with the area division of the American Heart Association.
Our agreement was initially formed as a
partnership in which we would mutually
promote healthy lifestyle causes through
our respective communication concepts.
We saw value in being aligned with AHA
because of the support they lend to our advocacy efforts. The partnership has also
yielded financial value. AHA has stepped
forward to sponsor our keynote speaker at
a past state conference.
■■  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas.
KRPA approached Blue Cross Blue Shield of
Kansas two years ago with a proposal that
we work together to develop a statewide
award to honor communities that were successfully putting forward initiatives to enhance healthy lifestyles. That partnership
has resulted in the creation of the BlueCHIP
Award which will be presented for the first
time this year at our state conference. The
award helps position our local agencies as
healthy lifestyle leaders in their communities and it includes a financial component
for the winning communities (three awards
based on population). In addition, BCBS is
also giving us an annual sponsorship for
our state conference. The overall annual
financial commitment from BCBS is $13,000.
■■  Kansas Department of Health and
Environment. Involvement in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health
and Environment has opened many doors



February 2011 - Parks & Recreation

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