Getting Boots on the Ground
Over the past year, SaskCulture has made a concerted effort to increase its outreach and, put simply, get more “boots on the ground”. Early in 2015, the Funding Coordinator positions were changed to Outreach Consultants, who work in coordination to connect more communities and cultural leaders to SaskCulture programs and services, particularly those who did not have existing connections with SaskCulture.
“We have found over the years that people understand SaskCulture programs and services best when we make a face-to-face connections,” explains Dean Kush, assistant general manager, SaskCulture. “Whether it’s promoting grant programs, getting people involved in Culture Days, encouraging support for Creative Kids, or explaining the importance of inclusiveness, we recognize that we need to be out in communities talking to people directly.”
Outreach generally includes attending several annual meetings for each District for Sport, Culture and Recreation, Tribal Councils, Annual Global Funding recipients, partner groups, as well as the formation of new connections with newcomer groups, First Nations bands, Métis groups and municipal leaders.
Extra effort was put into connecting to First Nations leaders to encourage bands to apply for funding to nurture cultural activity on reserves. This extra effort resulted in higher than normal application rates coming in for SaskCulture’s Indigenous funding programs. Those face-to-face meetings really work!