Creating opportunities for homeless youth
December 30, 2010 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I work at a non-profit that serves at-risk and homeless youth in the Bay Area. My program specifically supports youth in finding sustainable employment and provides ongoing job and career coaching. I need help understanding how to interface with large corporations since I have never worked in that environment. More inside.

Part of my role is outreach to corporations and businesses and create partnerships that will hire the youth. We have a whole presentation about how a partnership can benefit the specific business-tax credit, marketing, diversity, etc.
However, I find it difficult to interface with larger companies when it comes to making an initial contact. Either I cannot reach the right person or there is are too many different people giving different answers. Furthermore, it is difficult to reach a person and trying balance following up without bothering them. If anyone has experience with working in a corporation, what can you recommend in terms of how to get in touch and communicate with the right person? What would catch your ear when being approached by a non-profit?

Thanks, its expecially difficult to find employment in this tough economy.
posted by tessalations999 to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I work with something similar, can't hit google right now, but one of the magic phrases you will want to look into is corporate social responsibility. Hopefully there is some sort of organisation that companies affiliate with and you should be able to get a foot in that way. Will drop back in when not on mobile or message me.
posted by Iteki at 12:27 PM on December 30, 2010

Do you have any corporate people on your Board who can open doors to you with the organizations you are targeting? Participating with the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary also seems to be a good place to find the types of people you are looking for. You might also want to work on your organizations image in the community--the more good PR you get and the more well known you get the more these corporations will want to work with you.
posted by MsKim at 12:42 PM on December 30, 2010

I'd think you'd have better luck with smaller places--not mom and pop dry cleaners, but medium sized companies. Down here in LA, I know Ralph's supermarkets has hired at-risk and former gang members through a similar program. When people are learning about the world of work, sometimes finding smaller, less hierarchical organizations might be good places to start. Plant nurseries, bakeries (like Homeboy Industries here in LA), office supply stores.....
posted by Ideefixe at 1:10 PM on December 30, 2010

A couple of things that have worked for my organization:

- Taking part in local parades and events (current students/program participants pass out literature)
- Hosting a luncheon for potential partners of the program -- this gives you a chance to present partnership opportunities while giving local businesses a chance to interact with the youth participating in the program (something like this can be done every month or every other month)
- Setting up an internship for one outstanding participant at the Chamber of Commerce opened the door for an ongoing relationship - the key to success here was ensuring that the young person knew just how valuable this opportunity was, for them personally as well as for the success of our program
posted by WaspEnterprises at 2:12 PM on December 30, 2010

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