Friday, October 23, 2009

From Pumkins to Manuals

A favorite article of mine is called, Charity Networking with a Princess. It is on page 69 of the book, Masters of Networking. To sum it up in a few words, it describes how several groups, individuals and organizations linked together to raise more money and more visibility for each of the entities involved than one group member could have done for themselves alone. Each of the members has both a need and also excess of something.

Buy or borrow the book to read it. Then you'll know what I mean.

So we come to pumpkins.

My friend, Patrick Abec, owner of Abec's Small Business Review, lives out in the country and for the fun of it grew a field full of pumpkins. He had an event earlier this month where his business clients were invited to an afternoon in the country which included the children all having the opportunity to get a FREE pumpkin. Even after this day, Patrick still had quite a few of the orange orbs left. He offered them to folks. I took him up on his offer because my family gets together for an annual pumpkin carving event. It's this weekend and I have nine nice pumpkins that will get funny or scary faces. Patrick wouldn't take any money for the pumpkins.

I have another friend, Becky Knapp. She is the job placement coordinator for the Autism Model School. Her job is to help their high school students find employment or internships. One job I have always hated is getting all the materials ready for my classes. This is the type of job her students excel at. So this morning I am picking up 17 manuals that are all ready for class. The best part is that they will probably be perfectly done and I didn't have to touch them. When Becky and I talked about a payment arrangement, I expressed that I didn't want to pay them as actual employees, but as a vendor. She didn't think they were set up to accept those types of payments, so instead, I will make a donation to the school. This is where the pumpkins come in. I will increase the amount of the donation to include what I normally would have paid to buy the pumpkins, probably around $25. While that increase doesn't sound like a lot, this charter school lost $50,000 in funding from the state, so any extra is welcomed.

How does Patrick win. Well, as Becky is out talking with various employers, she will be able to refer folks to Patrick to be included as a spotlight article in his monthly business paper.

This is a very small example of how this could all work. Read the article and then tell me who else you think could profit and also give something as part of this circle.

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