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Partnerships can be defined as affiliations, associations, collaborations, alliances and relationships. Whatever word you choose to use, the real meaning is that you have built a network of supporters that can bolster your ventures, organizational goals, and increase your outreach to the general public. Too often we try to do it alone and fail, not because our project or goal was unworthy, but because we failed to identify potential supporters.
Regardless of your goal, you should try and attract the support of four groups:
- People like you who are affected by an issue. These can include the traditional consumer groups such as associations for the Deaf and hard of hearing. They can also include groups that have specific focus such as the Acoustic Neuroma Association of Canada, The Tinnitus Association of Canada and Cochlear Implant Clubs. Don't forget parent groups such as Voice for Hearing Impaired Children, associations for seniors, and associations for other disabilities. Accessibility and affordability of services is a common issue fought by all such groups.
- Decision-makers who could resolve the issue
- Decision-makers are the people who are directly/indirectly involved in the provision of the service you are trying to access. They can include department Managers, CEO's, Presidents and Vice-Presidents, MPs, MPP/MLAs, Municipal/City Councilors/Aldermen, etc. A letter sent or copied (cc) to such a person will often be more effective than one sent to a lowly clerk in an obscure office. Find out who makes decisions and make sure they are aware of the issues you are brining up for change or support.
- The Public
- Never underestimate the power of the public. This is a never ending task because though the public can be a huge help to your advocacy efforts, it is also true that the public soon forgets. New priorities in the media take priority over old issues. You need to have an ongoing public awareness campaign that influences all aspects of society. Don't forget to have programs/projects that specifically target children and youth. They will remember the lessons taught to them and help you make the next generation of Canadians more sensitive to hearing loss issues.
- These are people in your community known for their worthy ideas and contributions. They have the reputation of supporting good ideas and when they support something they legitimize it. By putting their stamp of approval on it, they endorse it, and agree there is a problem and something needs to be done. Ask them for their advice as a way to seek their support.
Many of these national associations have local and provincial chapters who can provide you with support. Contact the group/individual nearest you. The list is not meant to be all inclusive. If you want to add the name of a partner you have worked with in the past, send the information to our webmaster.
- The Canadian Hearing Instrument Practitioners Society
- The Canadian Academy of Audiology
- The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
- Voice for Hearing Impaired Children
- The Acoustic Neuroma Association of Canada
- The Tinnitus Association of Canada
- The Active Living Alliance of Canada
- The Canadian Paraplegic Association
- The Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities
- The Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres
- The Canadian Association of Retired Persons
- Senators and Members of Parliament
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
Legitimizers come in many forms. Keep track of the media and see who is in the news. Take a serious look at the United Way and other fundraisers. They always use Legitimizers to support their campaigns.
Contact your city/town by telephone; check their website; or visit your city/town hall and obtain a list of them.
Copyright © 2009 the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA)
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