Think that community service during work hours is a waste of time?
Far from it!
Building relationships with other professionals who are concerned about a common cause can be one of the best ways to create connections that lead to referrals.
The reason most managers think that volunteering and association engagements are a waste of time is because they don’t have a strategy surrounding how to generate leads through community service.
Well, here’s how to do it:
1. Identify Your Passion – What angers you or gets you excited? What would you do every day for the rest of your life even if you weren’t paid to do it? Find out what really gets you going, and then find an organization or association that supports that cause. Examples could include homelessness, cancer, abuse, animals, politics, children – the list is endless.
2. Call Development Directors – These folks like two things; volunteers and money, because one usually leads to the other. Call the person at your organization of choice who is in charge of raising money. Let them know that you would like to get engaged with the organization in a volunteer leadership capacity. It makes no business sense to just show up and plant a tree. As a professional using cause-based relationship marketing, you need to work with the people making decisions. Volunteer at a high level. The board of governors typically has committees that are open for non-board member service. This is a good place to start.
3. Show Up – We’re not in high school anymore, and you’re not looking for a resume builder. If you join a board just so you can add another line to your resume, you’re not going to generate a lick of leads. Get involved and actually show up, speak up, and make a change.
4. Do One-on-Ones with Interesting People – This is NOT the time to sell yourself. Cause-based relationship marketing is six-degrees of separation networking at its best. Have coffee with the people you’re volunteering with, get to know them, their work, their ideal clients, and primary strategic partners. Work to introduce them to people in your network who can bring them business, and guess what – they will do the same thing for you.
Generating referrals from service in community and professional organizations takes time, but it can be worthwhile, profitable, and fun.
Tell us about some successes you have had generating business through non-profit service.