By Chris Kaiser
To be an effective partner you have to be an active one
I’m not really good at making up new names for numbers, If your ambulance service wants to partner with the
but if I had to, I think “kuhdillion” is the number I’d use to community, how would you go about it? Well, you could do
describe how many times I’ve seen organizations claim to what some organizations do and just include the phrase “We
“partner with their community” or be “community partners” will partner with our community to…” at the beginning of
in an effort to follow their mission statement. In fact, the your mission statement, but that doesn’t accomplish much
biggest number of claims to be “community partners” I’ve other than giving some administrative types a warm feeling.
seen seem to exist only within those mission statements. To really get to the nuts and bolts of doing this takes a plan.
It seems everyone wants to be a “community partner” these It takes buy-in (yet another buzzword) from street-level
days, and that’s a good thing…if it is actively pursued and providers, and it takes a lot of administrative support and
actually accomplished. Otherwise, it’s just another claim on giving crews leeway to make decisions.
some company’s mission statement that exists solely to help First, you need a plan and objectives. What do you need
refashion the words “utilize synergy” to actual words that from your community to better serve your service’s mission?
mean something. What community organizations should you engage with to
What does “partnering with our community” really mean?
First, it takes a noun and twists it into a verb, which is some-
thing I dislike from a purely grammatical sense (ever heard
establish your partnership? What can you offer the commu-
nity that you currently do not?
That last question is important because, even though we
service of “dialoging” with someone?), but beyond that, it means the may perceive the inherent value in our services, the commu-
organization claiming to be a “community partner” needs the nity may not when they’re asked to increase their contri-
wants to community’s support in order to better fulﬁll its mission as butions to us. Don’t expect to get something for nothing.
much as the community needs the mission to be fulﬁlled. A You need to offer the community something in return for
partner bus company “partners with its community” to provide mass their increased support. A good example of this is touting
with the transportation service, but needs the community to help by the vast increase in saves for cardiac arrest patients with
allowing them to run their routes, standing in designated bystander CPR. Sure, your community members probably
community, spots for pick-up and delivery, and paying the fares. A police know that, but you’re their local provider. You need to show
how would department provides law enforcement and crime deterrence, them the real beneﬁts of learning CPR and pro