Hungry. Some of your best sponsors and prospective sponsors’ customers are hungry. Not for food but for experiences that offer–
Their hunger is for meaning. When these people get fed, their lives are nourished. When you help your sponsors feed their customers, their connection to them and you grows stronger.
What Kinds of Nonprofit-Business Activities Fulfill this Hunger?
Opportunities where your sponsor’s customers and employees step out of routines, learn something different, hear good news, and meet others. Here are several innovative examples for you to adapt to reflect your resources.
One of the many benefits of leadership programs across the country is their access to invisible-in-our-daily-life processes, jobs, and facilities. For example, a class visits an otherwise locked-down manufacturing plant. Many nonprofits also offer tours. Most blood donors, for instance, have no idea what happens to their blood after it’s extracted during a blood drive at a business. Tip: On your tour, ask probing questions to break through the regular tour talk.
Another opportunity, often overlooked but available for the asking, involves nonprofit expertise. Use experts for keynotes, panelists, or interactive events to participate with other attendees. Imagine your business is housing construction. For a staff event, you organize a panel from several nonprofits that deal with housing issues to learn how they solve or crack industry challenges. Your personnel learns about the solutions and the nonprofits. The visiting experts recruit volunteers or perhaps challenge your staff to team day. For your home-purchase candidates, you organize a panel of staff and nonprofit experts to discuss the impact of local building codes on construction. Your customers will walk away informed, connected, and more confident about you.
If you fund programs to prevent child abuse, you won’t get an eyewitness report from a nonprofit’s client. Instead, if you invite a counselor or someone who served as a child, you’ll hear stories that provide insights about why your support matters. In a Harvard Business Review article, The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool, Harrison Monarth writes, “A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts. Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.”
Try one of these approaches. Email me to let me know how it goes. For more ideas, read Should You Say Yes? Build These Five Criteria in Events Before Volunteering Your Employees. You will learn how to create appropriate and fun opportunities that generate hope, insight, and connection.
Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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