Copy of FuelEd presentation for schools
The byline for my organization is “fueling schools with the power of human relationships.” When one advocates for strong, positive relationships as the “cure all” for schools, as FuelEd does, it is critical that our organization embodies strong, positive relationships in all elements of our work. Marketing is no exception. Actually, when I take a moment to think about it, it is no surprise that the same social elements that underpin learning in the classroom—trust, reciprocity, collaboration—similarly attract people to learn about and support FuelEd. Allow me to illustrate…
As an early phase startup, FuelEd has an email list of over a thousand supporters across the country. Many on this list are total strangers who were early supporters when FuelEd was just an idea. These people stay connected to us and reply with words of support in response to our sporadic newsy updates or requests for help. Because this group of supporters has received continuous communication of our slow-but-steady progress for over a year, I have built trust in their eyes – the foundation of a strong relationship. They see my dedication to manifesting this dream of FuelEd and understand that it is not just some fly-by-night idea.
Then there are those on our email list that I have met one time. Perhaps this person was a lecturer on a related topic, or a judge in a business plan competition, or even someone I chatted with in a coffee shop. Regardless, I follow up with each and every one of these people. I write to them about my passion and I ask about theirs. When possible, I schedule an in-person meeting or a phone call. People thoroughly enjoy feeling connected to others and when I ask questions about them, I demonstrate reciprocity making our relationship more authentic.
Studies have actually shown that people who receive something from others, whether it is a tangible object or even just undivided attention, tend to feel the desire to give back. I have seen this proven over and over again as those who I take the time to connect with then reciprocate by taking the time to introduce me to a relevant article or contact.
The final element of FuelEd’s relationship-based marketing tactic is collaboration. I have discovered that people love championing for a cause and genuinely enjoy helping out. By communicating with my network regularly, I give FuelEd supporters a sense of personal ownership over FuelEd. As if, I’m the “horse” that they are placing bets on so that every FuelEd success, feels like their own. And as I mentioned previously, not only do these people end up rooting for me, they frequently offer their help—providing connections to amazing resources that I never would have been able to find on my own.
Of course, all of this takes time…a lot of time. To be totally honest, sometimes I wonder whether I’m being too much of a cheerleader for my cause and not spending enough time doing work behind the scenes. This fear generally does not last too long. Before I know it, a person in my network tips me off to a new source of funding, a school that wants to pilot our program, or an entertainment director that wants to do a documentary about FuelEd – and in an instant, I understand that it was all worthwhile. I realize in these moments that the long way – taking time to build and invest in relationships – is really the shortest way, and in my books, the only way.
These are all true stories that FuelEd has experienced firsthand. Sometimes I am astounded by the things that seem to just fall into our lap….but it isn’t magic. On the contrary, it is quite simple: valuing each and every connection as unique and important has allowed FuelEd to tap into the incredible power of human relationships. So, it seems that not only do relationships drive learning; they drive marketing and the general wellbeing of an organization.
If you’d like to learn more about FuelEd, please visit our website at: www.FuelEdSchools.com or email me at [email protected] – I’d love to connect with you :).
Megan is the Founder and CEO of FuelEd, a unique professional development program that equips teachers with the social and emotional competencies necessary to establish high-quality relationships in schools. Megan currently resides in Boston, MA, but plans to move to Los Angeles to continue to build FuelEd. When Megan is not using her charm to create and foster new and existing relationships, she enjoys singing, painting, cooking and traveling. For more information on FuelEd, visit www.FuelEdschools.com.