Engaging the Business Community, Step 1: Getting Started
A step-by-step guide to building and sustaining business relationships, with examples of previous business partnerships and their benefits for CKF.
File size: 3.1MB
Fact Sheet: Businesses and Health Care Coverage
A detailed fact sheet about health care coverage in the U.S. and the impact health care and philanthropy involve businesses.
File size: 35.8KB
Glossary of Business Terms
Know the terminology businesses use as you start to engage them.
File size: 39.4KB
Introductory Letter (Customer Outreach)
Tailor and send this letter to companies with more than 100 employees, which tend to have communication channels already in place to reach their employees and customers.
File size: 27.1KB
Introductory Letter (Employee Outreach)
Tailor and send this letter to small-business prospects who are more likely to have uninsured employees.
File size: 26.6KB
Related Publications and Web sites
A list of publications and Web sites to help you locate potential business partnerships.
File size: 54.8KB
Updated: 6.1.06 Printable version
How Businesses Think
As you develop your business recruitment strategy, it is important to review your plans from a business perspective. You do not need to have a business background or degree to do this. The principles outlined in this section will help you think like a business owner as you develop your strategy.
• Every company is unique. Each company has its own distinct decision-making process and cycle. There are many factors that companies will take into consideration before agreeing to work with you. The most common include alignment with a company's needs, mission, products or services; costs associated with a company's involvement; ease of implementation; timing; and the benefits of involvement.
• Companies are results oriented. The business community is driven to reach annual goals and sets benchmarks to measure progress, just like your organization. Use this to your advantage by emphasizing how the company's involvement can help your organization achieve its goals.
• Low-cost and free health care coverage is not top of mind. Outside of the health care industry, you will find that the majority of companies do not know that low-cost or free health care coverage is available for most uninsured children. Approach each conversation as an opportunity to educate the business community about the issue and your state's health care coverage programs.
• Time is money (Part I). Use your business recruiting time wisely. Focus on communicating a few core points: who you are, what you want, what a company will receive in return and timing. Do not overload companies with too many details about your program and too many materials. If they want more information, they will ask for it.
• Time is money (Part II). The business world moves quickly. Although it may take a while to recruit some companies, once they are on board and you have their attention, things can move very quickly. If a company needs information or materials, be prepared to respond quickly. This is especially important in the early stage of your relationship.
• Business has its own language. When speaking with business people, use terms and phrases that will resonate with them and be aware of industry terminology. For example, the official industry term for restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's is quick service, not fast food. Similarly, many retailers such as T.J. Maxx and Wal-Mart refer to their employees as associates. A list of common business terms is provided in the Glossary of Business Terms.
How to Approach Business Recruitment
Your approach to business recruitment and relationship building is important. As you begin, it will be helpful to keep the following points in mind:
• Business recruitment takes time. It is not unusual to call and exchange information for months before a company gives you a definitive answer. Your patience and persistence will pay off.
• You are presenting an OPPORTUNITY. Conducting health care coverage outreach is not part of most business plans. It will be up to you to "sell the opportunity" to the business community.
• Passion and commitment sell. Be enthusiastic about your program and the opportunity to work with the business community. Your passion and commitment will help recruit companies.
• Relationships count - a lot. The most successful and long-term partnerships are the ones that are built over time and involve a real relationship between the partnering organizations. Focus on building relationships with the companies you recruit.
• Start small, think big. It is OK to start small. This can apply either to the number of companies you recruit or the type of outreach you suggest for a company to implement. Think of each outreach activity as a first step in a relationship that has the potential to grow over time. The hardest part of business recruitment is getting companies to take that first step.
Do not take "no" personally. When you begin your business recruitment, expect to hear "no." Each company has its own priorities for the year. Sometimes children's health care coverage will fit into its business plan, and sometimes it will not.