Retaining strong sponsors is critical to the success and growth of summer meals programs. In 2014 Share Our Strength worked with the Food Research and Action Center to conduct a national survey of sponsoring organizations across the country. The survey found that sponsors are generally satisfied with the program and that most plan to return to the program. Those who were uncertain about returning to the program indicated that there were many reasons for potentially leaving – and all indicated that support to address those issues might help them continue sponsoring the program.
Feedback from sponsors and experience in the field suggest three primary strategies for ensuring that sponsors return to the program each summer:
- Provide ongoing two-way communication to identify and address challenges
- Foster relationships among sponsors and between sponsors and state agencies
- Provide resources to help sponsors succeed