Maintain a Positive Presence in the Local Community
Rural organizations that have successfully established partnerships with philanthropies noted the importance of maintaining a positive presence in their local community. This positive presence is critical because, when considering which communities to fund, philanthropies may visit the community and speak with community stakeholders. Whether the rural organization is a hospital, clinic, school, or nonprofit, it is important that community stakeholders have a positive perception of the organization.
Important questions to consider include:
- How supportive is the community of the rural organization?
- Do people know about or use the rural organization's services?
- What types of relationships does the rural organization have with other stakeholders in the community?
Philanthropies supporting small and rural communities pay close attention to the organization's relationships with other stakeholders, as the strength of these relationships can be a predicator of the sustainability of the organization and its activities. It is also important for this organization to be visible in the community. For example, a Critical Access Hospital may host free wellness fairs and events. Rural organizations may also feature their work in the newspaper and local media. For more information about disseminating the work of rural programs, see Disseminating Best Practices in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.
Funders are interested to learn about an organization's partnerships in the community and how these partnerships will help sustain and support the work moving forward. A program with community buy-in and engagement is more appealing to philanthropies because the program and/or its activities are more likely to be sustainable.