- Encourage Conversation: Having discussions with a wide range of stakeholders allows you to find opportunities that align with what they say matters to them. This leads to deeper relationships.
- Participate in Local Events: Festivals and community events that involve local businesses are great places to set up a booth and interact with the community. It also raises awareness, provides a face for your organization and allows you to share takeaway content to help people you meet remember you and visit websites/social profiles to learn more.
- Be a Partner for Your Community: A key to engaging local communities is understanding the issues that affect them the most. The community must view you as a partner that will be there for the long term with their concerns in mind.
- Target Leaders and Influencers: Target the leaders and influencers working on the ground. Provide value to them first before trying to get an insider recommendation, which will always carry more weight.
- Host Events, Trainings, and Seminars: Make effective use of office space and allow staff to practice their pitches and teach the community about what they do best.
- Create Mutually Beneficial Opportunities: Other people need to feel fulfilled for their efforts. Be sure to learn what is important to them and what will make them proud.
In order to build a stronger relationship, it is important for our communities to know who we are and what we are about. We do not want the public to see us only when demanding funding for minority businesses or urging the school board to pass the budget. What we need is ongoing visibility in our communities so that when we do reach out to them, it is not only during a crisis. Communities have to see more of who we are and what we are about.