Recruiting quality volunteers from the small business community for your charity or nonprofit organization requires explaining what’s in it for them.You’ll need to educate small businesses on the benefits of collaborative efforts, otherwise known as cause marketing. It is an extremely powerful way for any business, especially a smaller business, to show its brand personality to the world.
Laney Liner, marketing director for Moms Who Kick Inc., suggests ways to introduce your charity and illustrate the benefits of aligning with your cause:
• Plan, plan, plan. Create a plan that identifies what businesses you will contact — and why and when.
• Do research. Make sure you properly research small businesses that you believe share your charity’s same core values and that provide a product or service that may be able to educate, help or solve a problem for individuals aligned with your charity. This research may involve interviewing friends or customers of different small businesses to build a strong case for aligning with that business.
• Create a presentation. This should be scalable, because you will need to customize based on each small business you wish to contact. The presentation should include a range of information about the charity that would help the business determine whether to explore an alliance or volunteer opportunity. The presentation must list examples of how both parties will mutually benefit.
• Ask for referrals. There may be some cases where you learn on the spot that a small business is the perfect fit. Ask if the business representatives know of any other small businesses they can refer.
• Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is president of ProLine Communications, a marketing and public relations firm, and author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Ten Speed Press). Email questions to Bruce@SmallBusinessProf.com.