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Build Your Client Base: Partnering with Non-Profits

Build Your Client Base: Partnering with Non-Profits

For those who are looking to build additional client channels, online and traditional advertising may only get you so far, especially when you live in an area where clients typically find you through referrals or word-of-mouth. For new therapists, this can be especially frustrating – if you don’t have a solid client base already, how will new clients learn about you? Luckily, there’s another technique that not many treatment providers consider – partnering with local non-profits to work with referred clients at a sliding-scale rate. Let’s look at how this works and how you can start embedding this into your strategy for filling appointments.

Why Would a Non-Profit Refer to a Private Therapist?

Local non-profits who specialize in human services work (including places such as domestic violence resource centers, homeless shelters, food banks, etc.) are frequently staffed by case managers and human service professionals. While these staff may have experience providing guidance and mentoring to clients, they typically do not have the qualifications to provide licensed mental health counseling, and non-profits typically do not have the budgets to support employing licensed counselors. This means that when non-profits find it necessary for a client to be referred to mental health services, they are typically relying on the local mental health system, which can take weeks or longer to link a client to needed care. This creates a need for short-term therapy for many clients who often go without.

How Does a Private Therapist Rectify This Problem?

By connecting with local non-profits and offering sliding-scale rates, private therapists can easily fill this gap: Sliding-scale rates allow more flexibility in a non-profits budget, making it more likely that they would consider referring clients or even contracting with you to work with clients on an as-needed basis. While there isn’t a guarantee of filled appointments, this kind of partnership benefits your practice by filling otherwise empty time slots in your schedule, broadening your experience with different types of clients, and establishing your reputation as a provider in your local community.

How Can I Connect with Local Non-Profits?

One of the best ways to connect with local non-profit leaders in through networking. Contact your local United Way – they are often a major funder of most local non-profits and will typically hold monthly or quarterly leadership meetings. See if this is something you can attend and connect with leaders at. Other local business meetings are frequented by non-profit leaders as well – become involved in these and watch for the opportunity to build these relationships while marketing yourself.

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Jennifer N.
Posted on 09/17/2017 by Jennifer N.

Jennifer is a writer for OpenCounseling. She has worked at a number of state and non-profit organizations, providing counseling, training, and policy development



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