Reading the KaBOOM! case reopened a question I had been asking my girlfriend for months. How does Reading is Fundamental(RIF), a not-for-profit that gives free books to kids, convince corporate partners to continuously give their money to this cause. For that matter, how do any not-for-profits convince corporate sponsors to contribute. Her answer painted the non-profits to be bleeding heart enterprise that had to work hard to convince donors to keep giving by making them feel bad for the children in need. KaBOOM has given me another (much better) framework to this phenomena by showing me how it tapped into vision sharing, a fundamental process in company development.
In Integrated Product Development we are taught to find our audience, figure out a need that they have, and fill that gap by understanding the values of the customer. KaBOOM’s market driven approach to non profit development is directly in line with that thought process. Collins and Porras wrote that in order to create a company vision you must have a strong core made of your ideology, values, and purpose. At that level many companies can find overlap in what they are trying to accomplish for the world (or their communities) without finding competition in offerings. For example; Home depot said in the case ”Supporting the building and restoration of community playgrounds represents very accurately what The Home Depot is all about”. I think that the market driven approach added to the longevity of the partnerships because there were tangible effects that allowed them to use the other strategically. Home Depot could utilize KaBOOM in the growth of its brand image by leveraging its product offerings and core competency (DIY/Commercial Construction) and focus it on the community without having to develop a whole new system within its company. KaBOOM got donations of Home Depot’s core products, thus making the procurement of materials hassle-free.
Looking at a company like RIF what kind of strategic value-driven relationships could they build to increase decrease their dependence on charity funding. One way that came instantly to mind is their current relationship with the children’s museum(CM). Though the children’s museum is offering them office space it offers little else in terms of partnership. RIF has a lot the CM could use to attract more customers. For instance they go into schools for reading celebrations, yet they have rarely(if ever) brought the reading celebrations to the children’s museums. Therein lies a missed opportunity for marketing and building love for the CM by taking a part in it’s activities.
Strategic partnerships are an important part of any company and one question I hope continue to answer in this course is, How do I build the right connections for my company.