Strategies for Building Relationships

Tools and considerations for relationship building vary depending on the organization or individual on the receiving end. Participation in local school, district, and community events and forums is one way for School Liaisons to meet new stakeholders and potential advocates for military-connected children.

Here are some considerations for School Liaisons to weigh prior to seeking contact:

  • What is the role or potential role of the individual or organization in supporting military-connected children and their families?
  • What specifically can or would a School Liaisons like to gain from developing a relationship with the individual or organization (e.g., access to knowledge or resources, shared network, delivery of information, assistance in communicating a message to others, support for a specific issue or particular military-connected child)?
  • What specifically can a School Liaison offer to the individual or organization? (e.g., access to knowledge or resources, shared network, delivery of information, assistance in communicating a message to others, support for a specific issue or particular military-connected child).
  • What is the most appropriate way to contact the individual or organization?
  • What are some concrete next steps to establish a relationship with the individual or organization?

Building rapport and searching for common ground are important ways to set a relationship on a path to long- term sustainability. School Liaisons will find that different approaches will be more or less effective with different people and organizations. It is best to experiment and determine what works best. Here are some ways that School Liaisons can effectively reach out to key stakeholders:

Phone Calls

Sketch a brief introduction that includes a stated purpose for the call and a short description of the role of a School Liaison.

Meetings

Clearly establish a purpose, duration, and expected number of attendees prior to the meeting. Some high level officials may prefer that School Liaisons meet with a staff member or assistant first.

E-mails and Letters

Include a thoughtful introduction describing the purpose of making contact and conclude with a clear plan for follow up. Attach relevant resources if applicable.

Community Publications and Local Media

Letters to the editor and media coverage are interesting ways of reaching a broader local audience. Consider school and neighborhood newsletters, community center publications, local newspapers and media. School Liaisons can work with installation public affairs staff to identify and reach out to journalists that are known to write about education issues to raise awareness about military-connected child services and ongoing family-district-community partnerships that support it. A good way to do this is to conduct a simple Web search for education articles, note the author’s name, and call the publication asking for the best way to contact that person.