“[Harley Davidson] just committed to planting 50 million trees worldwide. When most consumers wake up in the morning, I doubt they would associate Harley Davidson with an environmental group, and yet they are an incredibly caring audience that has raised over $80 million over the years for the Muscular Dystrophy Association…you don’t think about riding motorcycles in the city, you think about wide-open spaces, so they are a perfect partner because they do care about the environment.”
 - Geof Rochester, Managing Director, Nature Conservancy

Finding the Right People Starts with Finding the Right Partners with Geof Rochester

Session 77

No organization has all of the time and money to do everything it wants to do, especially in the worlds of nonprofits where these resources are especially restraining. So how can an organization look for external help to reach goals? This week’s guest is Geof Rochester, the Managing Director of the Nature Conservancy, which serves over one million environmental advocates. He explains how building partnerships with the right companies can help you reach more people more effectively. In his time at the Conservancy, he has overseen international partnerships with Pepsi, The Weather Channel, CBS, Macy’s, and Subway, among other corporations. While not every organization can score big partners, Geof suggests getting people on your board who can contact influential members of your community on your behalf. He says it is all about using assets wisely – putting your most important people and stories in places the public can see. But no matter what approach you take, Geof emphasizes the need to focus your mission before trying to expand too far.

Geof and Beth discuss:

  • How to engage board members the right way
  • How canvasing helped bring in more revenue and diversify channels
  • Turning your organization’s mission into a mass marketing statement
  • Ways to get the media involved in your activities
  • When it is and is not ok to be ambitious in finding new supporters

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