This is a question we are hearing a lot now in the BNI Foundation, which means that the cat is out of the bag regarding the great things business owners are doing to support the schools and educational organizations in their communities.

Guess what? It’s so very simple and quick to launch Business Voices in your area. Here are three simple steps to help you get started:

1. Identify a school or educational organization in your community that you would like to serve.

2. Ask for a referral to the principal or director.

3. Take your referral partner with you and a few local business owners to a short meeting with the principal or director and ask ONE SIMPLE QUESTION: What are your  biggest needs right now? 

The answers you will get back to this question will set the course for your involvement with them. Invariably there will be things on their list that will be quite easy for your local coalition of business owners to take on. For example, one BNI chapter went to visit a public school in their area. The principal shared that they were in sore need of a great website and marketing piece in order to be able to compete for students with the charter schools in that community.

Boom! The chapter’s web design member was happy to help the school with creating a spiffy website AND the printer in the chapter easily took care of a brochure for them. Done. Next need?

It is that easy.

Here’s what we did in Southern California a few months back: I invited a couple of local chapters to join me for a “get-acquainted” lunch at the Boys and Girls Club. During the tour of the facility, all kinds of things became apparent as needs, and the members who were touring with me couldn’t help themselves from saying, “I can help with that,” and “I know someone who could take on that.”

It really is that simple.

Now, if you want to make it more organized and add an element of teamwork to what your community is doing, you might consider appointing a team leader who coordinates these referrals to schools or organizations and arranges the field trips. We have found in BNI that it is often going to be a director’s spouse or a member of a chapter who feels passionate about serving who is the best person to lead the Business Voices team in a city.

One BNI franchise owner is establishing Business Voices Teams in about five of his largest cities and assigning the role of “team leader” to five different director consultants. It’s a thing of beauty! (Yes, that’s you, David Alexander!!)

We need your stories!

As you begin to go into the schools and educational organizations to ask what their needs are, please share what you are doing so that we all may benefit from your experience. We especially want to hear your stories about how kids are being impacted for the good through the Business Voices movement as it unfolds in your community. Join us in the BNI Connect Group for the BNI Foundation/Business Voices or post on our Facebook page.

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