What if cultural organizations and local businesses promoted each other and worked together to bring in patrons?
Part of our Be Here program philosophy is the idea that cultural organizations should not hesitate reach out to local businesses and engage them in a way that is mutually beneficial to both. That can sometimes be difficult for small museum staff if resources are scarce and time is even more precious. But, there are some strategies to make the process less time consuming. Afterall, there is nothing to lose, and incredible partnerships to gain.
We know the local businesses we want to target, but to whom should we speak?
Start with connections. Go down the list and ask people in your own organization if anyone has a connection with that company. Warm introductions are the best place to start. Outside of those personal connections, determine:
- If the company has a Community Engagement Officer or a Foundation? This is often the best point of contact for your “discovery” meeting.
- If not, would someone in the marketing department be willing to take a 15- minute meeting with you?
- Your Chamber of Commerce may have a good sense of the current business ecosystem. Best to approach them after you have already begun meetings with companies, so as to demonstrate progress.
How do we make the initial “pitch”?
In making the request, align your project’s values and their company values: positive community impact. Practice the description of the Be Here: Main Street project (or other program) so that you can concisely describe it in 90 seconds or less. Time it! This is your elevator pitch (or in business speak, your “value proposition” in terms of how you impact the community.)
- State that you are scheduling meetings with the businesses in your community as your “discovery process” in forming corporate partners and corporate sponsorships.
- State that “you and your company were recommended because of (x, y, z).” Be sure to include any connections you made by going through the above process.