Partnering with Neighborhood Organizations

Similar Goals and Programming

  • If there are organizations doing something similar, why bother competing? Collaboration can allow you to support one another, exchange ideas, and possibly co-sponsor events or classes.
    • This reduces the chances of volunteer recruitment becoming a competition. You may even find it useful to recruit volunteers together.
  • Our example: The Seattle Community Farm works with a loose coalition of food and anti-hunger organizations in the area. Sometimes we co-sponsor events or gather to brainstorm ideas.
  • One example is the garden classes for adults we sponsored during the summer of 2011. Another organization provided an instructor for the classes, while we did the outreach and provided the venue. We split the costs of translation and interpretation between our two organizations.
  • If you’re grant funded, make sure all the grant requirements are still being met and that other organizations are not taking over your responsibilities.

Physical Proximity

  • Organizations that are in close physical proximity make natural partners because you probably already interact frequently.
  • Your physical proximity may also mean you’re serving the same clients or recruiting from the same group of volunteers, and a partnership can enhance everyone’s experience with both organizations.
  • Our example: The Seattle Community Farm has formed an unofficial partnership with Habitat for Humanity because they’re building a house next to the farm. We might not otherwise have had access to them, but it has been incredibly helpful.
    • Habitat’s AmeriCorps team built a tool shed for us as part of their annual service project.
    • Some projects on the farm, such as building our fence, could count for Habitat residents’ sweat equity time.

Serving or Working with the Same People

  • Organizations that provide services or opportunities for the same group of people, even if those services are very different from what you offer, can make good partners.
    • If the organizations have a relationship it will be easier for people who are served by both of them.
  • Our example: The Seattle Community Farm works with Neighborhood House, which provides case management, runs a Head Start pre-school in the neighborhood, and provides space for local cultural organizations and youth groups to promote each other’s programs and do outreach together.

The Seattle Community Farm (SCF) has many goals in the community: getting fresh produce to those who struggle to afford it, educating children and adults about growing and cooking their own food, and connecting people across cultural and linguistic barriers to garden together. 




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