- Deepen and create more meaningful relationships with community partners
- Expand the capacity of community partners’ organizations and strengthen their missions
- Improve community partners’ services to better meet the needs of the community
Neighbors Project’s traditional program model consists of dividing our community partners into different “issue areas.” During the 2011-2012 academic year there were nine issue areas, and one Student Service Coordinator was assigned to each issue area as the point of contact for the issue area’s 3-7 community partners. Neighbors Project is still keeping this model for the 2012-2013 academic year, but we have consolidated last year’s nine issue areas into the following five: Education, Environment and Food Justice, Hunger and Homelessness, Wellness and Support and Youth Development.
In addition to having the five issue area model, we are piloting a new Neighbors Project model for the 2012-2013 academic year in which four of our ten Service Coordinators will be assigned to four selected community partners participating in the pilot program. Each of the four community partners have identified several capacity-building projects they want to focus on accomplishing during the pilot year. Each of the four Service Coordinators participating in the pilot will have the opportunity to work with one particular community partner and help them recruit volunteers who have the necessary skills to work on the different capacity-building projects.
The pilot program is an opportunity for organizations to innovate through new ventures, research projects, evaluations, strategic planning, procedure standardization, organizational restructuring, and other capacity building activities. Neighbors Project staff and student volunteers will provide on-going support in order to carry out the projects and implement change for the partners.
Sample Capacity-Building Projects:
- Internal organizational evaluation
- Program evaluation and analysis
- Database enhancement and analysis
- Creation and implementation of a more effective social media strategy and online presence
- Rebranding of marketing materials and enhancement of communications’ strategies
- Corporate partnership building and donor outreach
- Enhancement of event planning and management policies
- Implementation and evaluation of new financial literacy class for clients
Evaluation of the Pilot Program:
During the pilot year, we are committed to the evaluation and assessment of the pilot program. Community partners, volunteers, Neighbors Project Student Service Coordinators, as well as full-time Neighbors Project staff, will all participate in the evaluation process and provide us with necessary feedback. After reviewing the feedback, Neighbors Project staff will decide if the program model was indeed effective and whether or not the model should be adopted for the 2013-2014 academic year.