I was recently asked what I would do if I were attempting to align my business with government programs or non-profits to form joint ventures.  It’s a good question.  So here is what I would do.  My first strategy would be to use direct mail. I would get a list of those people using a company such as Melissa Data or use the local blue pages (in your local phone book), which are similar in most all telephone directories of businesses in government. 

You’ll want to be very clear on your criteria.  Your criteria might be government agencies that have to do with real estate usage, non-profits that have to do with the local area who are looking for joint venture partners that might refer business to you in exchange for referring donations to them. Whatever it is, that’s your criteria.  You can either find those people in directory publications or you can buy them through an online site and mail them a letter.  
Not just any letter—you want to mail them something that stands out. Why mail? I mean, you could call these people but sometimes it’s tough to find out who is responsible and sometimes it’s tough to get through to people because there are gatekeepers.  
You can try email, but try emailing me…some of these people are pretty important, the heads of non-profits and/or government agencies and they don’t know you…that’s the part that kills us. They don’t know you, so they won’t open your email they’ll delete it if they don’t know or recognize you.  
Therefore, you want to send a letter that you feel will get delivered and that stands out.  For example, if I was trying to win someone over to do something that only they could do being a government official, etc. and I knew if they made a decision to align themselves with my company in one way or another where I could make a ton of money, then I would spend some money making sure that it got in front of that person. 
John Goldman, from Lumpy Mail, is famous for sending watermelons to people. I’m not kidding. When you open it up, there’s a letter from him. It’s crazy out of the box stuff, but it certainly works. He built an entire business, which he later sold under that guise and he still does marketing consulting today. I consider him a friend and mentor. We meet up a couple times a year.  
He lives in Baltimore, MD. He’s a cool guy and I enjoy him, I’ve learned a lot from him and have even taught him some things too. So, he’s well known for being the watermelon guy and sending people outrageous packages, like a mini garbage can with a letter crumpled up inside it, then they want to un-crumple it and find out why someone mailed them a garbage can.  
Of course, they open the letter and it says something to the nature of, “Just in case you don’t want to make a million dollars this year, I went ahead and crumpled this message up for you.” It’s supposed to be funny. That’s just an example.  You wouldn’t send that to a government official. When they un-crumple it because their curiosity is raised. “Why would someone mail me a garbage can? What is this paper and why is it in the trash?” Then they open it and it says that, whatever you decide that un-crumpled paper should say to get that kind of person’s attention at that government agency or non-profit you’re trying to reach…it grabs their attention which is what you want to do with your package.  You want to get people to ally themselves with non-profits or government agencies.  
Another cool thing I’ve used in the past that would be fun to use when aligning yourself with government programs or non-profits is a collapsible, fold-up Frisbee. The company that sells them is called Fling Pro or something like that. They have these small packages where it looks like a small pouch and then this thing upon opening flings out of it…that’s what you would want in a situation like this. When they open the pouch, it pops open in their face. It won’t scare them or make them wet their pants, but it’ll make them say, “Oh, the person that sent this really understands marketing.” 
And, of course, it will have a message from you and your company individually to that person or that type of person if you’re mailing to a market with a specific type of person. What kind of marketing do I recommend to find those types of groups? For non-profits you want to ally with or government agencies if you want to impress or get them to give you consideration, whether a grant, an opportunity to partner with them or a tax-free loan to develop properties in a bad neighborhood. 
Believe me, there are government offices out there that are responsible for that which are run by human beings who can be influenced by marketing just like anybody else, so if you do something that stands out then you can get a grant and money for developing projects in an area where most of the stuff is low-income housing so you’ll create something better. 
You may get a non-profit to agree to mail a message about your business to their database if you agree to do the same thing to your database. Can these things happen? Yes. Are they easy? No. That’s why I’m telling you, you have to stand out. 
In addition to direct mail, when attempting to align with government programs or non-profits, I would go where they are. Be a conference commando and find out where their watering holes are. If they have a twice a year national non-profit organizations that promote the healthy function of liver cancer and you’re trying to sell something to liver cancer doctors then you need to be at that conference, very simple. 
If you’re looking to influence a government agency and you know they have a twice annual meeting of the government agencies in the specific geographic area, be at that meeting or be around it if you can’t get in it and bump into people, talk with them and network strategically.  
Another approach to aligning with government programs or non-profits would be to help them with their advertised problem. Go onto their websites, contact their office managers and call them. Talk to different members if they have a local meeting in your area. Find out what their organizational problems are and solve those problems for them or offer solutions to those problems, whether you make money or not. 
It’s not the same way as finding all the numbers, putting them on text messages, sending voice blasts, etc. then getting people to call you back, which is a reverse marketing technique you may have heard or read me teach about before. In reaching out to government agencies or non-profits you’d like to align yourself with, this is more selected reverse marketing, because it’s finding out what their advertised needs are and helping them solve them. It’s very simple.  And, of course, if you make money from it great, but if you don’t you can position yourself for a future alliance with an organization who knows who you are, what value you bring to the table, and owes you a favor.

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