NPP Tips & Tricks

We would love to hear all about your NPP journey and the incredible tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way! We also want to know about any obstacles you faced and how you overcame them. Sharing your experiences can help inspire and motivate others in their own journeys. So please, don’t hesitate to share!

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Hey Implementers! We’re so happy you’re here! Along with the documents to guide you through the NPP process in our resource library, there are so many “soft skills” that help the program and relationships with pantries run smoothly. Here are a few of my favorites that have helped me when implementing:
1. Get organized!
Reviewing the process, the documents for each step of the process, and knowing what is coming next helps things run much more smoothly. When I am organized, I feel confident in guiding the pantry through the program and am poised to more readily answer questions about the process. Being organized ensures I get the information I need at the right times in the most efficient way possible; when I’m looking forward a few steps I can gather info now that I will need down the line instead of coming back to the pantry multiple times with multiple requests.
2. Be Honest With the Pantry
Being open and upfront about what you can and cannot do for the pantry makes for a smoother process and relationship! It is important to be transparent in the beginning about who will be taking on what work and how much time the pantry should expect to / can put into the program. Remember that this is a collaborative relationship! You bring experience, resources and potential connections while the pantry brings their person power, existing partnerships, and any funding they have for pantry changes.
3. Make It Fun!
Celebrate the pantry! Building positive relationships is the foundation of a trauma informed approach and this is also true for your relationship with the pantry. Try to bring a sense of excitement and creativity to the process, which will help the pantry leadership feel those things too. When they get excited, amazing things can happen! Also remember to stay flexible and know that not every pantry has to go for gold. Certifying at a bronze or silver level with a feeling of achievement is better in the long run than certifying gold and feeling exhausted and drained by the program (for both you and the pantry!).

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These tips are great! Thank you for sharing :slight_smile:

An obstacle that I faced as an implementor was communicating effectively with my sites. My initial assumption was that all my sites would respond well via email. One thing that helped me overcome this challenge was taking the time to develop sincere relationships with each site individually. By doing this, I think this allowed me to strengthen our relationships and positively affect our collaboration. Through that, I was able to find what mode of communication worked the best and found that some sites preferred connecting in person, through text, and phone call!

Friendly tip: take time to build relationships with your sites and their ambassadors! Individualized implementation styles were what worked best for me!

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Hello all! I’m Jake, NPP board member for this year. Quick intro, I’ve been implementing NPP for about a year now in Michigan in Detroit and the Detroit metro area. I’ve graduated a couple pantries and am in the process with a couple more so it has definitely been a busy year.

I wanted to pop in here with the thing the I learned pretty quickly after getting out of training and starting to implement the program.

Let the pantry lead the way

This may seem obvious, and it’s definitely emphasized in training, but at least for me, the first time I went to implement at a pantry, I defaulted a little bit to sticking really closely to the script. And while it’s very important to stay within the bounds of what the program offers and not overpromise something that can’t be delivered, it’s equally important to let the pantry guide the process.

This takes a few different shapes in my experience. First is the most obvious, and it’s going to be what focus areas to focus on, what tasks will be completed, and so on and so forth. The thing that didn’t click for me until I had been implementing the program for a bit longer was that the timing is just as important as what is done.

The first pantry I implemented at had very limited capacity for anything outside of food distribution, as it was entirely volunteer run. In our first visit (second meeting) where we were at the pantry, we collectively identified a number of areas to focus on and improvements to make. Once we got working on them, I came in a little hot based on their capacity for additional work because I was excited to get going and implementing NPP is a large portion of my responsibilities at my job. Long story short, they got overwhelmed and eventually stopped responding to attempts at communication.

In reality, if I had paced the work better on my end, they wouldn’t have felt like the program was overwhelming, because it never should be. Within the bounds of what is offered, NPP should be tailored both content-wise AND workload-wise to each specific pantry. I do hope to eventually get this pantry back on board, but for now, I’m taking it as a lesson learned, and something that hasn’t and won’t happen again with any pantries I work with.

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These are great tips! Thank you!

Hello Colby
I love your tips and I’m going to use them in my pantry
Gianna

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Wonderful! I’m very happy to hear that!

These tips are so helpful. I would love to connect with any food banks in the southeastern area that are implementing NPP with their pantry partners!