It gives you new ideas for where to research businesses to partner with.
For example, many of us know about the Business Journal book of lists. But here are some more places!
- Chambers of commerce
- The Giving Guide from the Business Journal or Business times in your city.
- Foundation center database partners
When you start to narrow down potential partners, how do you approach them?
The Hands-Off Connection
If someone on your board says “Hey, just drop my name with them and I’m sure they’ll meet with you” watch out!
This hands-off referral can work against you. Have your friend/contact personally set up and attend this first meeting. This will guarantee that you get the in-person or over the phone meeting, and your contact can serve as your advocate.
How long should this first meeting be?
Anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Ask for 20 minutes and get up at the appropriate time.
If you don’t have a connection, Bruce recommends approaching the PR contact, and if that doesn’t work, the HR department, with a script like this:
Hi <firstname> I’m <yourname> executive director of <yournonprofit> in Columbus, OH. I read that <company> is going to open a new store here. I believe your employees would benefit from working hand-in-hand on a new community project we are developing. The local TV station has already requested an interview about it, so I know this project is going to receive great press coverage. Would you be able to give me the name and direct telephone number or email of the person in charge of community partnerships?
What if they say, “Go to our website, we have a grant application you can fill out”? Actually, this is really bad for you, because it precludes you getting to know them better. So tell them, gently, that you are not looking for funding or a sponsorship but that you have a business partnership opportunity you think would work best for their public relations or marketing department.
I liked Win-Win for the Greater Good. It gives you lots of ideas for how to partner with businesses in unique ways. and it gives you ideas for ways to keep businesses coming back again and again.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it, if so?