Saturday, March 23, 2013

What Do They Want, Too?

My friend, Cheri Holdridge is the pastor of The Village church.  She asked a great networking question about how those in the non-profit world can network with people in the for profit, business world, figuring out how each can help the other.  I loved that last past of her question because it says to me that she not just a taker!

When I asked Cheri for further clarification, she mentioned that the non-profits in the world need money from the for profit businesses to continue to do "good" in the world. Cheri says, "The BIG but is that we in the  non-profit world have to figure out what the motivational hook is that will help gain the funds from businesses." 

And this is where networking helps because I look at networking as a way to gather information that will prove helpful or useful in the future.  The easiest way to find out what the hot buttons are that make companies open their pocketbooks, is to ask.

It might sound something like this:

"Tell me how you currently link into community causes."

"What has been a successful about this for you and what about it makes it so?"

"If you could change anything about the way you give time and money to causes, what would you do?"

The most difficult part of this exercise is to keep quiet and listen.  After all, your goal is to eventually get money from the person sitting across the table from you, but until you know all the answers, you won't even know if they would consider your cause.  Getting answers to the above three questions will at least give you a starting point.

  • If you sense that they are NOT interested, move on! 
  • If you sense that they might be interested, then you can begin taking about your cause and how it might help what they are trying to achieve as a business.

There is a superb article in the book, Masters of Networking entitled, Charity Networking with a Princess.   It is on page 69 of the book. It tells how several for-profit and not-for-profit organizations linked together to raise money as a group.  Because of the power of the group, they raised more money than if they had tried to do the same thing separately.  It was an exercise in finding out what each organization had to give (surplus) and what each also needed (demand).  Using this technique, might mean better collaboration of both profit and non-profit worlds.

Any other thoughts out there?



Cheri Holdridge said...

Thanks for this post Debby. You reminded me of something that is so important in every human interaction (and by the way, it is a great thing to remember when humans interact with God too); we all need to shut up and listen. I have a meeting on Tuesday with a business owner. I know he has a heart for giving but I have no idea if he wants to give to the project for which I need money. You gave me some great opening lines as a way to connect with him. Thanks for your timely post!

Debby said...

Cheri, you are so very right. I hope that your meeting goes well tomorrow. And remember you can always refer this person to someone else in your network if you're not a fit. But let's hope it is.