May 7, 2010
So you want to connect your business with the students on a college campus? This sought after demographic can sometimes present companies a logistical challenge. So we thought we would offer up some tips on how to best connect with campus organizations and in doing so, forge the connections necessary to connect with college students on campus. Here are three ways to connect with college organizations.
1. Help Them Fund-raise – Student organizations often partner with companies or brands for fund-raising purposes. The best time to reach out to these groups is often at the start of the fall semester, when new leadership begins settling into their positions and clubs start developing fund-raising goals for the year. You will likely work with one or two members of the group’s executive board, who will try to motivate their fellow members to participate but may end up shouldering the bulk of the work themselves.
Include incentives for superior performance into your program to encourage participation. Every organization is different; for some participation is voluntary and for others it’s mandatory. Be sure to ask how the executive board motivates the general membership.
2. Help Them Get A Job – Or build their resume, or land an internship, or offer some other useful advice. Some student organizations have hundreds of members. Attending a meeting as a guest speaker can be a smart way to reach large groups of students in a short amount of time. Contact the executive board and express interest in becoming a guest speaker at an upcoming meeting. To secure face time, focus your presentation on topics relevant to their membership such as “how to land a job” or “how to network”. Tie in your services or product at the end of your presentation. Always bring hand outs to distribute during your speech.
It’s also best to target campus organizations that share missions similar to your business. Our friends over at Campus Buzz gave us a great example…For instance, if you own a pet store you should reach out to the pre-veterinarian or humane society organizations on campus. Create meaningful, sustaining relationships with these organizations. A list of student organizations can usually be found online through student life activities boards, programming boards or department websites. The organizations often list their contact information on their website.
3. Feed Them – If you want a student organization to really pump up the attendance for a particular meeting, buy a bunch of pizzas to serve before your presentation. Events advertising free food are almost always better attended than those that don’t. Providing the e-board with flyers about your talk will help get the word out.
After the meeting stay awhile to talk with the students and encourage them to contact you. The ones that stay in touch can be great resources for additional information about the campus or even leads for future interns.
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Adam Grant of Campus Commandos, a showcased startup at TECH cocktail Detroit last month focused on connecting businesses with college campuses. You can follow Adam on Twitter: @Adam_Grant.
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