Kansas Paraguay Partners Best Practices

Steve Richards, Kansas Paraguay Partners President

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Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) is a network of networks. Our most valuable resources are volunteers who are grateful for opportunities to learn and grow friendships across borders. When we share our stories, others become engaged. This is amplified by collaborating organizations, including educational institutions and arts organizations.

Project work is conducted by loose, informal committees of members interested in particular topics. These are convened by project coordinators. One of our main priorities is reminding ourselves to share our stories in wider circles so that KPP is not such a “well-kept secret.” The primary communication channels begin with the chapter Facebook page, website and a Google Group email list.

Our membership coordinator keeps a database in the form of a relatively simple spreadsheet. Columns can include names, contact information, affiliations, project interests, membership status, date of initiation, and other useful variables. This spreadsheet has evolved from being passed from one coordinator to the next. It can be sorted to create lists for various purposes.

The core of our funding resources also begins with our members. When joining or during the annual renewal cycle, members may choose to support KPP at many levels: Student, Partner, Sustaining Partner (or Household), Patron, or Corporate/Organization. Recently, the renewal appeal has shifted from physical mail to email and online. Paper forms are still available and follow-up is conducted by mail and phone to meet individual styles.

There are also options to add donations to the general fund or either of two endowed funds. One endowment supports a bilateral pair of university scholarships. The other supports administrative costs and promotions. While individual items may be emphasized in a particular renewal cycle, all options are available throughout the year.

In all development activities, it is important to focus on our mission. We must be wary of temptations to chase resources or activities that might pull us off-course from our goals. As we tell our stories, we have to remember why we are Partners of the Americas: to connect, serve, and change lives.