Step 2: Engagement of Key Stakeholders

General information

Talk with potential partners and funders about the campaign; involve them in the planning process to get buy-in and support

Finding Partners

Identify potential partners and funders and talk with them about the campaign – involving them in the planning process will help you generate buy-in and support.

Partner Benefits

Here are some benefits that a partner, whether for-profit or nonprofit, may bring to your campaign:

Creating a Strategy for Community Engagement 

Community engagement and on-the-ground outreach are often the key tactics that sustain a campaign’s message and lead to behavior change. Learn more about key strategies to help increase involvement among groups and organizations that have direct contact with the target audience.

  • Funding
  • In-kind support
  • Expertise and staff
  • Access to other funders/partners
  • Reputation/Credibility
  • Distribution networks
  • Entrée into close-knit communities
  • Visibility
  • Political/Policy Influence

Pick your partners carefully. Be sure that you and your partners have parallel visions of how your alliance will be structured and how decisions will be made. Some partnerships may involve simple exchanges, while others may involve working closely together over the life of a campaign. Tips for attracting funders and partners:

  • Establish common areas of focus and interest
  • Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework
  • Paint a complete picture by presenting a detailed plan for the campaign
  • Emphasize the desired outcomes and how they will be measured and reported
  • Offer options for participation and contribution, ranging from cash contributions to in-kind services to access their audience/customers/constituency

Making the Case

Visit the Resource Center for research reports, statistics and other resources that can help you make the case to partners and funders.

When you’re speaking to potential partners and funders, you’ll need to convince them why they should invest their time, money or other resources in your campaign. Whether it’s a formal proposal or a casual conversation, your pitch should address these four questions:

  • Why is college access (or the particular aspect of college access you’re focused on) a problem we need to address now?
  • How can marketing make a difference?
  • Why is your campaign a good use of limited resources?
  • What’s in it for me (my organization, my constituency/customers, my business)? Focus on what they actually value, not just what you want them to care about.

While there’s no guaranteed way to get someone else excited about your idea, you already have a lot of information that can help you make your case. A good starting point is your problem statement. Use the research you’ve already done and the strategies in your marketing plan to demonstrate that you have done your homework and identified approaches that are likely to be effective.

Securing Funding to Achieve Your Goals

Major sources of outside funding and in-kind donations include:

  • Foundations
  • Corporations
  • Government (federal, state, and local)
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Media Organizations

Each source comes with its own application process, funding restrictions, and reporting requirements. Make sure that the money is worth the effort involved.