The success of any organization is built on the individual successes of its team members. Connecting with stakeholders and policymakers to share those successes helps increase community support. In a complex organization such as Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, every member of the team must take responsibility for maintaining positive relationships with legislators, stakeholders and media in his or her community and throughout the state.
At MSU Extension Fall Conference in October 2014, the Strategic Connections Action Team was tasked with coming up with a plan and toolkit to help infuse this sense of responsibility among all staff members. The following materials are designed to help you feel more comfortable as you look for opportunities to tell the MSU Extension story.
This toolkit includes the following:
Many assume that maintaining relationships is the job of a district coordinator and the MSU Extension administrative team. While that is true, this task doesn’t fall solely on their shoulders. Local connections are as imperative as those at the state level. The local policymakers and stakeholders that you work with today may one day represent your area in the state legislature or a state department, or have strong ties to influential people.
Don’t wait until stakeholders get to Lansing to start telling them about the strength of Extension. You know these people now. They are your county commissioners, township supervisors, directors of local food banks, presidents of your local Farm Bureau and others. Use the tools in this kit to learn how to connect with these key leaders in your local community now.