Building Partnerships with Other Organizations
It is important to build up partnerships with churches or groups in the community. This provides a solid base of support for staff members (so they don’t burn out) and for students to have more mentors. These are some ideas for building up early partnerships.
- Partnering with churches not only serves to show InterVarsity’s commitment to students as church members, but also can provide opportunities to be in contact with potential donors. Try sharing your vision with a Sunday school class or small group. Get them excited about the importance of ministry to international students. Ask them if they’d be willing to adopt your chapter – to partner financially or through service to the students. Provide them with regular reports about your students.
- Let partners get to know the students! Host a dinner where partners can see the ministry and engage in it for the evening. One possibility would be to have dinners near the end of the semester where partners can celebrate the ways the chapter has moved through the semester.
- Invite donors, church partners, or community members to speak at large groups or conferences. Let them share the benefit of their wisdom in specific professions or aspects of life.
- When partners do something for the chapter – provide food, give a seminar, etc. – ask students to write thank you notes to them.
It also can be a good idea to partner with other campus organizations. Look for ways in which your chapter can work with other campus ministries. There may be community projects you could work together in, a campus-wide prayer and worship time, or a large-scale evangelism event. Partnering with other ministries helps students see the vision of “campuses renewed” coming to life. Meet with the leaders of other international groups to see if there are events you could combine on, such as gatherings around holidays.
Be sure to continue to cultivate your relationship with your partners after the initial contact. Here are just a few ideas* on ways to involve partners throughout the year.
- Ask professionals in the community to come in and talk to students majoring in their field. They can discuss interviews, what the work is like in the “real world”, how it is to live out their faith, etc.
- Invite businesspeople to talk to seniors about resumes, interviews, salaries, and in general what it is like in the working world.
- Provide a time for professors to meet with students or give testimonials about their faith.
(As members of the community with authority, people such as businesspeople, professionals, and professors will have a great impact on international students.)
- Do you have a partner who loves Christmas and organizing? Have them organize Christmas parties or “Angel Trees” for international students.
- Involve churches in event hosting (retreats, meetings, etc.)
- Invite churches to create care packages for internationals as they arrive on campus (or during finals week!)
- Coordinate service projects with local churches.
*Staff at the National Service Center are continuously compiling partner involvement ideas. If you need more ideas, contact us.