Guru Tips 1V2

29 Feb, 2012

Guru Guidance Tips: Get Buy-In to Start a Community Outreach Initiative in Your Firm

Guru Guidance   News You Can Use  
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Read time: 1 minute, 27 seconds


The Scenario

After listening to a presentation at the SMPS Mid-Atlantic conference, the mentee is intrigued by the idea of karma marketing – getting involved in charitable, service-based initiatives that bring positive attention to the firm. They would like to spearhead an employee-driven commitment to community service with an outside organization, but are not sure how to propose the idea to company leadership. How can the mentee articulate the potential benefits to get buy in from their principals and the employees alike? Can the mentee encourage employees to apply what they have learned through the experience to their day to day work? What potential issues should the mentee consider?

Before proposing a program to management

  • Do thorough research of opportunities
    • What is the required level of involvement and what are the potential benefits to the firm?
    • Associated costs
  • Gain support of the staff to demonstrate buy-in
    • Can suggest that a small “core group” be involved at first, to keep the initial commitment manageable and demonstrate that the effort can be successful, before expanding to the entire office
    • Some employees will be interested, others will not be. Conduct quick polls to make sure there is enough broad interest.
  • Pick causes that are not overly specialized or that would appeal to only a small number of people. Avoid hot button issues.
    • If you can find a cause that aligns closely with the firm’s mission, this is ideal

Potential benefits to the firm

  • Free good press
    • If program is successful, may get covered by news outlets such as the Washington Business Journal
    • Can advertise your community involvement in marketing collateral and RFP responses, where appropriate
  • Picking a cause that is valued by your clients can bring positive attention
    • Can also lead to more buy-in from staff, as they may be familiar with the cause already and will likely see the direct benefit
  • Charitable work does not always lead directly to opportunities, but it will generally only lead to good things
    • People that come together to volunteer are often the same people that make things happen in their professional lives
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