The other week I read about the National Trust from an email I received. But it wasn’t from the National Trust it was from parkrun (as in run in the park). I love parkrun.
Parkrun has over 1 million runners of all ages who are invited to gather at 9 am each Saturday in parks throughout the UK to do a 5k run for free – people who like to get out and get some air in their lungs. Confession : I haven’t been for a while – although now my wife has recently got the parkrun bug.
But occasionally I do read their e-mails. So now I know that 25 of the parkruns take place on National Trust property. Good on you National Trust.
Now if the email had come from the National Trust directly I wouldn’t have read it. It wouldn’t have felt relevant and, just as important, it wouldn’t come from a source I’ll already engaged with and enjoy hearing from. One that I er… trust.
Don’t get me wrong I think the National Trust is great too, and my family enjoyed numerous days out at National Trust locations. But right now I wouldn’t open an email from them.
Yet I’m sure those that go on a parkrun are just the people the National Trust want to get their message to. Alzheimer’s Research UK have started a 3 year partnership with parkrun. Again a great idea to convey the importance of exercise as a way of reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, along with that sense of family and the memories of doing things together.
So who can help you reach relevant audiences and spread your message for you? What sort of partnerships can you strike up? And that’s the key word partnerships – you need to give as well as take. I assume, in line with Parkruns philosophy, those runs at the fabulous National Trust venues are free.
Reflecting on my time at SolarAid here are examples where others told our story:
We teamed up with The Big Issue who also believe in business based solutions to poverty – we pursued this following a piece they did unprompted on the 10 ten innovations for the year ahead listing no.1 as the solar light and citing SolarAid (a great example of how a story can spread). They subsequently gave SolarAid some editorial coverage in several issues around Christmas time which in turn helped us secure a UK Aid match with donations from the public doubled by the UK government.
Virgin, like SolarAid, believe in entrepreneurial solutions, and have often been willing to host a blog for us through their Virgin Unite site. I once we got a call to say they were filming with Sir Richard and what would we like him to say (and as they happen to have a solar light we’d given them to hand that was the prop). They took the film and with a bit of editing we created something together.
The Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation (MSFF) – doesn’t just give a grant they also talk about us and share the SolarAid story along with others they support on their website.
And if you go to Google.org you will often see the main picture is Christopher from Zambia studying by solar light (it’s a great picture – so that’s what we are giving).
So ask who can spread your message for you to reach the audiences you want to engage? What can you give or offer that works both ways?