Saturday, September 24, 2011

Contemplating How to Build Strong Partnerships in the Community; Caddies and the James Homes Services organised the James Family Fun Day at Jimboomba Park

A few months ago two people representing the James Family Home Services came to my office. Their intention was to organise a Family Fun Day for the community and at the same time fundraise for our Community Care organisation. 
As a community organisation we would reap the benefits of this collaboration and together we could involve many members of our community in compassionate voluntary action in helping others.  This collaboration proved to be a real boost for building lasting relationships between local businesses and the Caddies Community Care Centre in Jimboomba. 
Organising the Fun Day itself was a huge challenge and the first attempt was cancelled due to weather. However, everyone was determined and the second planned day was a success.
Analysing the community partnership model
After taking part on many workshops on partnership building, attending relevant interagency meetings, local groups, committees and associations that enhance partnership building between the business community and the local nonprofit community organisations, I am left to thinking on what kind of community partnerships would be ideal in creating such a compassionate atmosphere that it would lead to businesses becoming active in voluntary engagement in the local community? 
My experience is that when I am attending meetings that bring together local businesses, such as The Chamber of Commerce or other associations enhancing business networking, everyone will mention their desire to be involved in the community.  The consensus is there. Everyone is interested and basically ready to get involved. How then can this desire be transformed into real action and support?
The Ideal components of local community action initiative
The first component is the human potential. Ideally the business owner is engaged in community participation. I find many women and men who have built a small business very willing to give back to the community in some easy and convenient way.
The second component is convenience. Community engagement must be inbuilt into the business structure. If a business owner is overworked and just involved in making ends meet, who has time for community involvement?  It is a fact that strategic involvement in the community brings in more business.  How, then, can we find a convenient form of partnering for the local community organisation and the local small businesses?
The third component is access to an agreeable community organisation as a partnering platform. This falls on the community organisations willingness to be accessible and involved in the local community social capacity building. Very often it is the struggle to grow and maintain the high quality service standards that prove to be the biggest challenge. Building partnerships with local businesses just is not in the agenda.
What about the image building
Ideally a local community organisation that is accessible to everyone and involved in helping those who are vulnerable in the community will attest to the values of humanity, impartiality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. This means the drive and willingness to include everybody in the community. It also means providing access to everybody without prejudice on the avenue. 
Still being involved with a particular business brand might be considered problematic. On the other hand, it is a normal practice of most of the large charities to partner with big companies to get more fundraising advantages. Just Google on the internet! Local community organisations can partner as well. The question is who would be an ideal partner?
The experience of partnering between JCCA and the James Family Services
In my experience JCCA’s collaboration with the members of the James Home Services proved to be an ideal partnering opportunity. As a nonprofit community care organisation we provide direct services to vulnerable people in the community. We provide aged care, youth and family support and emergency relief to those in need in our community. We also provide food services; food pantry and meals-on-wheels. 
James Home Services similarly provides direct services to clients in their homes, cleaning, lawn mowing and pet grooming. The small family franchises work their business in the community. While our aim is to involve everyone in voluntary service in helping others, they know everyone that could help.
Due to this our collaboration in organising the James Family Fun Day at Jimboomba Park was a success. The active, involved and compassionate people of the James Home Services were able to mobilise their group and other businesses in the day and at the same time fundraise for Caddies. We were able to use our organisational expertise in helping to organise the event, acquire licences and participation.
All in all this proved to be a wonderful start to successful partnering! I am looking forward to more in the future.

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