I was often bored in school except for Mrs. Dodgeâ€™s high school English class. She scared me. Not just each week but each day she required us to write an essay. She was my Superman. That daily deadline set me on a lifelong path of loving words and leaning into deadlines.
For all thoseÂ great teachers and those lost students who didnâ€™t have a Mrs. Dodge, the upcoming movieÂ Waiting for â€˜Supermanâ€™ is aÂ provocative call to arms. ItÂ follows the lives of five public school students in a lottery, each hoping to be among the lucky ones who get into a good (charter) school.
After seeing the movie,Â DonorChoose founder, Charles Best was so outraged that he joined forces with the movie producer and the publisher, PublicAffairs, in a smart partnership to get more peopleÂ motivated to support public school reform.
Why write about a movie in a blog about the power of partnering?
Because it offers another specificÂ example of how businesses and not-for-profits that serve the same kind of people can come together around a sweet spot of mutual benefit to generate more money, visibility and other support for an advocated action than they could alone.
As I describe this partnership think of the emotional hot point of your work or interest â€“ and your top goal. Then look for other businesses and groups that share that passion in better serving â€œourâ€ common situation â€“ and how you could join forces to reach and involve more people.
Here is the movie-centered partnership then the four steps you can take to adapt it to your situation.
Offer People MultipleÂ Ways to Participate
Prior to the October release ofÂ Waiting for Superman by the social activist film production companyÂ Participant Media, partnerÂ PublicAffairs produced a companion book. Each book will include a unique code that those who buy it can enter on DonorsChoose.org and have $15 donated to the school or their choice.
Momentum Builds to Join, Once You Have Your First Partners
Another partner sweetened the pot. When publisherÂ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt joined the WaitingforSuperman.com â€œPledge Progress Meterâ€ it offered to provide $100,000 worth of new childrenâ€™s books to U.S. libraries in need - if 60,000 people signed theÂ pledge to see the Guggenheimâ€™s documentary when it opens. Donating your products or services is the most cost-effective way to participate, of course.
Encourage Groups of All Sizes to Find a Way to Participate
The more kinds of organizations and individuals that are offered aÂ way to participate the more credible and compelling your campaign becomes.
What-if Dream Scenario
What if the partners recruited major national retailers that want to reach the market of parents like The Gap. ViaÂ Foursquare and/orÂ Groupon they could make special offers (fulfilled by the retailers) to spur movie ticket sales, especially on that crucial first weekend the movie comes out.
The offers might be sweetened for a group of five or more who attend together. Movie theater owners become partners because they would be delighted to promote that offer.
As all partners promote the retailersâ€™ offer (and theÂ traditional andÂ social media cover it) the retailers are able to reach more prospective customers with a â€œhaloâ€-based message and a reason for offer holders to walk through their doors.
Tip: When two or more organizations partner they multiple the number of people they reach and the extra value they can provide
Steps: to Forging Your Own Value-Building Partnership
1. What kind of people do you want to reach?
2. Who else reaches or serves (or could reach or serve) that â€œmarketâ€?
3. What specific action(s) do you want the people in your market to take?
For example, theÂ main site for the movie encourages you to see the movie, read the book and offers ways to learn more, donate or to help a local school.
4. What offer(s) can you and your partners make that will motivate them to act?
As you and your partners advocate actions youâ€™ll know you are succeeding when:
1. Others join you and suggest other supportive actions.
For example, oneÂ tutor mentor suggested the campaign should also show â€œshow kids the importance of college, if they had a college degree themselves. But thatâ€™s what poverty is all about. Itâ€™s people who donâ€™t have high paying jobs, college degrees, etc. How can they be providing the dollars to help teachers? How can they find the time to be mentors? How can they model jobs and college if they have not finished school themselves? â€œ
Thatâ€™s the reward and the penalty of this increasingly complex, connected and bottom-up world. We must become increasingly nimble in forgingÂ partnerships and other kinds ofÂ collaboration so we can respond quickly to seize opportunities and to solve problems.
See more ideas about how to partner at, well, How We Partner