So you want to connect your business with the students on a college campus? This sought after demographic can sometimes present companies with a logistical challenge. So, we thought we would offer tips on how to best connect with campus student 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:
Help Them Fundraise
Student organizations often partner with companies or brands for fundraising 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 fundraising 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 its general membership.
One of our client’s charitable arms followed a similar strategy. It supplied each team with a $500 stipend to use toward their campaign and a video camera to document their journey. The students built websites, integrated campaigns, built a strong company brand using graphics and slogans, and planned fundraising events, among other things. Upon the conclusion of the initial challenge in spring 2012, the student agencies raised over $10,000 for their organizations, and had their proposed campaign materials and techniques implemented by their clients.
Help Them Get a Job
Ultimately, you want to help students land an opportunity, whether it be through building their resume, getting them an internship, or offering your 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—and always bring handouts to distribute during your speech.
We used this strategy with Men’s Wearhouse to give talks on dressing for success in front of student organizations. 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, sustainable 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.
Adam Grant serves as CEO of Campus Commandos, a top youth marketing agency helping you market products / services to college students.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.