Building Community Partnerships

Community partnerships are a great way to embrace new initiatives. They can build trust and credibility, increase brand awareness, and grow an organization. Learn how we forged strong community partnerships to bring Nature in the Arts to life.

   The Challenge.

Create a Signature Program to Celebrate a Milestone Anniversary

Build it on strong partnerships. Engage new audiences. Create new stakeholders.

To mark its 40th anniversary in 2020, Shirley Heinze Land Trust sought to create a signature outreach program to forge connections with new audiences. The mandate was to reinforce the idea that the organization was synonymous with nature in northwestern Indiana. 

watercolor painting of two sunflowers

   A Creative Solution.

Nature in the Arts

We conceived Nature in the Arts as a way to connect people to the outdoors through their interest in the arts.

It was a natural fit for the land trust. Outdoor enthusiasts cherished the group's prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. The preserves also formed the ideal setting to create beautiful art and memorable experiences.

Developing community partnerships would be key to appealing to those outside the environmental organization's traditional demographic. 


New Partnerships. New Voices.

I led an oversight group to guide the initiative. The Nature in the Arts committee met regularly to brainstorm ideas and partnership opportunities.

Across four counties, we conducted partner outreach. The pitch: link art and nature for a variety of free, hands-on, family-friendly workshops at nature preserves across northwestern Indiana. The collaboration would build awareness and support for both Shirley Heinze and partner organizations.

Within a short time, we successfully engaged arts and community organizations representing a range of voices, media, and techniques for the programming series.

Branding for Nature in the Arts was created internally. A marketing and social media strategy was developed to enable all partner organizations to tap into their group of supporters.


Nature in the Arts – Community Partners


A Successful Synergy of Interests

Nature in the Arts was inaugurated in the spring of 2021 to resounding acclaim.

A number of the region's most impressive natural areas played host to this nature-centered art series. Activities were organized for all ages, including community painting of a 40th anniversary banner, creating nature-themed mixed-media collages and walking journals, printmaking with native plants, designing nature wands, and appreciating soundscapes. In addition, Shirley Heinze staff led guided hikes and scavenger hunts on the preserves. At Lydick Bog in St. Joseph County, attendees were able to engage with local plein air artists to create works on-site.

Nature in the Arts quickly became one of the land trust's most popular programs. Events are held monthly in the warm-weather months and virtually in the off-season. It has deepened the brand awareness for the organization and delivered its message of land preservation to a new audience. 

Let's Work Together

If you have a creative project in mind, need help with fundraising or engagement, or want your next special event to "wow" even the most circumspect stakeholders, contact me today!

Bonnie Hawksworth
ph: 219-309-7638

Bonnie Hawksworth, non-profit leader and fundraising and engagement expert.

Bonnie Hawksworth

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