Posts for the Category ‘Partnerships’

10:59 am

Finding the Suite Spot: Building Relationships with Corporate Partners (Part II)

Finding the Suite Spot: Building Relationships with Corporate Partners (Part II)

Finding the Suite Spot is a three part blog series, written specifically for members of the nonprofit community. Part I focused on researching and defining the right corporate partner for your organization, customizing sponsorship opportunities and building strategic relationships (short or long term). In Part II, I will focus on the importance of building a sponsorship package, and identifying and creating the perfect “volunteer experience”. I’m going to share with you the three steps for building and sustaining successful partner relationships. Now that you feel more comfortable with getting your foot in the door using the techniques outlined in Part 1 and you have their attention, what’s next?

 Sponsorship Packages:

You may be wondering, what does a sponsorship package have to do with building a relationship? A lot depending on the corporation. The mindset of many community relations professions is beginning to shift with respect to the value-add from sponsorship of galas, runs and golf tournaments. Yes, brand awareness is a huge goal; however, what makes your gala stand out from others? Frankly, once a person attends a couple of galas, it becomes arduous to attend these types of events over and over. How do you overcome that? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Consider presenting a package deal.
    - While a gala, golfing event or run alone may not be enough to persuade an organization to donate funds, a combination of opportunities might be the answer. Perhaps a persuasive deal could include a combination of events and employee volunteer opportunities. A package deal ultimately shows that the agency is looking beyond the one-time event and is interested in truly getting the company engaged.
  • Think outside the traditional event box.
    - Some agencies are starting to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising and are raising record amounts of money as a result. Many are doing this by opting for a fun experience rather than a traditional one. Agencies are showing that they are not afraid to go big, be different, and find venues and personalities that will draw a crowd. I understand some smaller agencies may not be able to launch events in the same manner; however, there’s always a way to change things up a bit! For instance:
    - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta has an annual bowling event. It raises money while also offering sponsoring companies a chance to get in on the fun. Gas South uses this annual event as a team builder!
    - Literacy Action, an adult literacy agency, hosted “Spellabration”. The event was held in a ballroom and had the appeal of a gala, but guests played games. Our sponsorship package included an opportunity to play a game of Scrabble with many for profit and nonprofit agencies in Atlanta and participate in a spelling bee. It turned out to be a well-attended and fun event that provided social interaction while raising a record amount of money. It was obvious that a lot of thought went into planning the event and it’s one we will sponsor again next year.
    - MUST Ministries (Marietta, GA) replaced their traditional annual dressy gala with a large tailgate party held at the College Football Hall of Fame. The event was sold-out and provided attendees with the opportunity to see a brand new venue, take a tour, wear their favorite team jerseys, participate in a sports paraphernalia silent auction and meet retired University of Georgia Coach Vince Dooley. All of this was done while raising money for children and families. MUST even opted to forego the fancy food for true tailgate foods and sides like hot dogs and hamburgers which kept the event fun and casual.

Volunteer Experience:

In Part I, I touched on “Understanding Engagement Opportunities” and creating a volunteer experience. A growing number of corporations now request that agencies provide volunteer opportunities − a volunteer “experience” or a team building opportunity. When meeting with companies, be prepared to answer the following questions: Are you adequately staffed to host a group? What size group can you host? Is your staff open to this opportunity? These questions need to be considered when planning an event, and you need to be open and honest about what you can or cannot do. Conducting a volunteer event that you’re not prepared to handle can backfire – people typically do not shy away from sharing their experiences with others.

  • Family-Focused Volunteer Experiences – In this era of work-life balance, consider offering a family-focused volunteer experience. Younger families are often looking for volunteer events which will engage the entire family, particularly if the event occurs on a weekend.
  • Skills-Based Events – Companies often have, at their disposal, a plethora of skills and abilities that can aid nonprofits in their day-to-day operations. These “skills-based” opportunities often go untapped and offer even the smallest of players a chance to give back. Invite them to visit your agency, review some of your processes and create a win-win situation for you both parties. These projects have the potential to leave you with new technology, new training or perhaps free support!

Building relationships with corporate partners takes time and effort but if you put in that extra work and creativity, it could ultimately work to your benefit. What are some of the ways you have gone the extra mile or let your creative juices flow? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

The final part of this blog will cover the topic of sustaining the relationship.

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3:06 pm

Allconnect and Gas South Celebrate 50,000th Transfer

Last week we celebrated the transfer of Gas South’s 50,000th call to Allconnect. To recognize the milestone, Allconnect representatives presented Gas South with a plaque and brought tasty treats for our Customer Care Center staff.

Allconnect is a leader in connecting consumers with essential home services. Since 2007, Allconnect has provided Gas South customers with a one-stop resource to receive personalized assistance with the selection and purchase of home services. Gas South customers who call to transfer or establish service have the opportunity to speak with an Allconnect home service advisor, who reviews the numerous home services options specifically available at their new address, including satellite TV, cable TV, Internet, phone and home security systems. After discussing the plans, promotions and bundles available, the advisor then takes the order and schedules installation, providing end-to-end service.

“We are pleased to be able to reach this milestone with Gas South,” said Sam Howe, Allconnect CEO. “It’s exciting to be a part of their success and we look forward to celebrating the next 50,000 transfers.”

Allconnect has been an excellent partner to Gas South for many years. We can’t thank both companies’ reps enough for their hard work and dedication to reach 50,000 calls.

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4:36 pm

The First CNG Station in Cobb County is now Open

On Thursday, July 30th, Gas South, GAIN® Clean Fuel and Core-Mark opened Cobb County’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) station, located in Smyrna, Georgia. This new addition to the Smyrna community, will fuel a fleet of alternative energy trucks.

CNG is a readily available alternative fuel made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Natural gas stations provide fuel for 135,000 vehicles in the U.S., with 20 CNG fuel stations in Georgia alone. Natural gas generates up to 90 percent fewer emissions and costs about 50 percent less than traditional gasoline and diesel.

Gas South’s team has been working hard for the last six years to see CNG become a reality throughout Georgia and in particular, the metro Atlanta area. By opening another CNG fuel station, GAIN Clean Fuel, with support from Gas South, is providing carriers with better access to a domestic energy supply that is both cleaner and cheaper than traditional fuels.

Gas South helps to connect the dots between customers interested in using CNG and station owners, so it’s very important that we do everything we can to make these facilities successful.  Gas South is the largest volume supplier of natural gas for CNG stations in Georgia and we are proud to have a number of facilities across the metro Atlanta area. Another plus to seeing more CNG stations open is that natural gas is abundant, domestic, inexpensive and clean – all huge benefits for our society and our economy.

“Projects like these show how great partnerships can succeed when working toward a common outcome that benefits so many,” said Clean Cities Georgia Board Chair William Cook. “In addition to the many benefits of CNG, fewer emissions will be produced which is good for the environment and for all of us. Plus, utilizing CNG helps create energy independence for America.”

Core-Mark’s commitment to a CNG program began with an initial conversion of its fleet. Today, there are 179 Core-Mark CNG tractors on the road with more planned in the future.

The other three stations in operation through this partnership are located in Aurora, Colorado; Sanford, North Carolina and Forrest City, Arkansas. A fifth station is under construction in Tampa, Florida and is scheduled to be in operation later this summer.

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4:57 pm

Finding the Suite Spot: Building Relationships with Corporate Partners

Finding the Suite Spot is a three part blog series, written specifically for members of the nonprofit community. In this series, I will tackle researching and defining the right corporate partner for your organization, customizing sponsorship opportunities and building a strategic relationship (short or long term).

Relationship building, whether internal or external, opens doors and is often the key to getting things done. Let’s face it, projects, sales, ideas or potential business transactions are often conceived on a golf course!  The soft skill of relationship building is crucial and can be a game changer for your organization.

Part 1 of this blog series will focus on Finding the Right Fit. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, “How can we get our foot in the door?” Gone are the days when corporations freely disperse sponsorship dollars to organizations just because they always have. Donor dollars are becoming a rare commodity for some which is causing agencies to be proactive, creative and transparent. There may still be some standing relationships you have salvaged over the years, but with employment turnover in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, many organizations may have to recreate relationships.

To find the right fit for your agency:

  • Research First! Do your homework before you approach a potential corporate partner.

Poll your board members, make them aware of the relationships you want to pursue and determine if any members have contacts or serve on other boards with employees of the targeted corporation.
Review websites to research what initiatives are supported. Do the initiatives align with what your organization has to offer? If not, then this may not be a good fit.

  • Get to Know Your Donor

Once you have decided to pursue the relationship and you have the correct contact person, schedule a meeting.  Face time allows you to develop a better feel for the organization, the culture and the giving habits. It also allows the corporation to see who you are and understand your needs − this is important as you should be pursuing a long term commitment. Be transparent about your goals, needs and purpose for reaching out. Leave materials with them and be diligent about following up.

  • Understanding Engagement Opportunities

A growing trend from corporations is to request volunteer opportunities − a volunteer “experience” or a team building opportunity. When meeting with companies, be prepared to discuss this. Are you staffed appropriately to host a group? What size group can you host? Is your staff open to this opportunity? Be open and honest about what you can or cannot do.

  • Financial Cycle of a Company

When is the financial cycle of the company? When is your financial cycle? More importantly, when are budgets set? Does the company have giving limits? Do not ask for more than companies give and present options at different financial levels.  Consider volunteer opportunities if you are able to do so.

  • Ask questions

Find out as much as possible up front. What is the corporation looking for in the relationship? What are you looking to gain from the relationship?

I hope this information has been useful. Please check back for the next part of the series where I will address sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.

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10:37 am

Community Partner Spotlight – The Silverton Foundation

Gas South and The Silverton Foundation have recently partnered to help families in need due to large, unexpected costs. We spoke with Josh Moffitt, president and founder of The Silverton Foundation, to learn more about The Foundation and how the partnership is making a difference in the community.

What is your organization’s mission?  

When your child has a severe medical condition or illness, priorities shift in order to do whatever it takes to care for your child. Whether it’s hospital visits, long-term hospitalization or ongoing medical life-saving treatment, those costs can add up quickly and many people struggle to handle them. The Silverton Foundation was established to lessen the things families have to worry about during difficult times. The Foundation provides mortgage, rent or short-term housing payments to families with chronically ill children. We help families maintain their homes and reduce financial and emotional burdens, allowing parents to focus on getting their child better so they can return home.

Why is your organization’s mission important?   

Families lose their homes for many reasons, but the two biggest reasons are because of a loss of job or health issues. In our families’ cases, the situation is even more compounded because it involves the health of their child, and in many cases, we see at least one parent lose their job to care for the child.

Is there an upcoming initiative you would like to highlight? 

We have recently issued a challenge for people to moonwalk across their next finish line! At the end of any road race, graduation, you name it, we want you to take a photo or video of the moonwalk and post it to social media using the #MoonwalkYourFinish hashtag. For every post, our sponsors will make a donation to The Foundation. This is just another fun way for us to raise awareness for our cause!

Our partnership with Gas South has also raised awareness about our program. When you sign up with Gas South, you receive a 2 cent per therm discount and Gas South will also donate $50 a year to our foundation – simple and easy! Click here to watch the video on Facebook to learn more.

How has Gas South’s partnership benefited your organization?

Gas South has been a great partner in getting this initiative off the ground. It’s not only an amazing opportunity to raise awareness, but it has also provided a sustainable funding avenue for our organization – and in turn, our clients save money!

What have Gas South employees done to help? 

Everyone has been very helpful with their time, energy and ideas. Even though we are a new (only three years old) and small organization, Gas South has jumped in and treated us as if we are a national brand.

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9:42 am

Community Partner Spotlight – MUST Ministries

Gas South is committed to supporting the communities we serve through our Gas South Cares program. Through this program, we partner with some of the most effective nonprofit organizations in the state. Gas South would like to feature one of our most enriching partnerships, one that we are proud to work with all year long.

MUST Ministries is a volunteer-driven organization providing a range of services to needy people, from food and clothing to job training. We recently spoke with Don Crampton of MUST Ministries to learn more about the organization.

What is your organization’s mission?   

Serving our neighbors in need; transforming lives and communities in response to the call of Christ.

Why is your organization’s mission important?   

MUST Ministries serves close to 34,000 people in eight north Georgia counties. We’re the largest safety net for the poorest, most desperate residents in this region. MUST helps them meet their immediate needs for food, shelter, and clothing, while also providing longer-term resources, like counseling and training needed for employment.

Is there an upcoming initiative you would like to highlight? 

The MUST’s Summer Lunch program serves approximately 5,000 children per day in eight counties. In 2014, 254,000 sack lunches reached hungry children in our 19th year of meeting this tremendous need. Thousands of volunteers made sandwiches, packed lunches, checked sacks, drove lunches to sites, contributed supplies, donated money and partnered in a host of ways to be sure children would not go hungry. [If you’re interested in donating your time to the Summer Lunch program, check out this site.]

How has Gas South’s partnership benefitted your organization?

We are extremely honored to have the support of Gas South for the past five years. Their desire to serve is demonstrated by their actions. Gas South has helped MUST Ministries in all areas, through volunteerism as well as corporate contributions. In particular, Gas South is a sponsor of our two largest fundraising events, the Safe Refuge Gala and the Annual Thanksgiving Day Gobble Jog. Gas South is also a major supporter of our Summer Lunch program and is the lead sponsor for our Step Up Your Game: Getting People Back to Work seminar.

What have Gas South employees done to help MUST Ministries?

Several Gas South employees have volunteered over the years to serve at MUST Ministries. More specifically, Gas South has been one of the lead participants in our employment education area, offering assistance in helping our clients to enhance resume writing skills and prepare for job interviews.

Gas South has worked with MUST Ministries for over five years, and we’d like to encourage you to get involved with the organization. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, click here.

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11:21 am

Community Partner Spotlight – Action Ministries

Action Ministries is a non-profit organization providing a wide range of services to Georgians who have fallen on hard times. By meeting basic needs of hunger relief, housing and education, Action Ministries removes barriers that prevent thousands of Georgians from breaking the cycle of poverty and realizing their potential. We recently spoke with Rebecca Whicker of Action Ministries to learn a bit more about the organization:

 What is your organization’s mission?  

Action Ministries mobilizes communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education.

 Why is your organization’s mission important?   

Georgia has the second largest number of homeless children in the nation, it ranks second highest in the nation in the number of homeless veterans, and it has more than one million children who are food insecure. Last year, Action Ministries was able to serve over 140,000 people with the help of partners and volunteers. We want to break the cycle of poverty and ensure that everyone has the tools they need to reach their full potential.

 Is there an upcoming initiative you would like to highlight? 

Our Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program is an initiative we prepare for year round. We also have our Feed the Hungry Food Box initiative, and we’ve made it easier to get involved. If any of your readers would like to help feed a hungry family they can text FOODBOX to 41444 and donate from their mobile phone. If your readers would like to keep up with the action and receive periodic updates from Action Ministries, they can text ACTIONHERO to 51555.

 How has Gas South’s partnership benefitted your organization?

Gas South has given its time to support our hunger relief efforts through Smart Lunch, Smart Kid and Feed the Hungry. In the summer of 2014, with the financial and volunteer support, we were able to provide over 219,000 lunches to children in need. Gas South’s financial and volunteer support of our Food Box initiative will help us provide more than 400,000 meals to hungry families over the next few years

What have Gas South employees done to help Action Ministries?

Gas South employees participate in lunch-making events throughout the summer, providing meals to children who receive free and reduced-price lunches during the school year but are at risk of going hungry during the summer break. Gas South employees have also helped pack food boxes at our Feed the Hungry warehouse. We love our Gas South volunteers!

Gas South has worked with Action Ministries since 2012, and we’d like to encourage you to get involved with the organization. For more information on how to volunteer, click here or if you would like to donate, click here.

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9:20 am

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta win our Charity Cornhole Challenge

For the third year in a row, we sponsored our annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater Brewing’s 420 Festival. Even though the conditions were pretty gloomy on Saturday, our competitors didn’t let the weather stop them from helping out a great cause and we had an excellent turn out!

Cornhole Competitors – Dan and Bret, from Virginia Highlands.

Several months ago, we partnered with Cornhole Atlanta to set up preliminary tournaments around the metro area. The winners of the preliminary tournaments faced off on Saturday with a VIP party at SweetWater up for grabs. Mike Bailey, from Perry, and his cornhole partner Bobby Mumper, from Jasper, came out on top and brought home the championship title.

Cornhole Competitors – Jonathan Chavis, from Jackson, & Bobby Mumper, from Jasper. 

Cornhole Champs! Bobby Mumper, from Jasper and Mike Bailey, from Perry.


Thanks to the success of Saturday’s challenge, we were able to raise quite a bit of money from team registrations. Hundreds of festival goers also donated cash in exchange for some fun Gas South swag (sunglasses, ponchos, coozies, etc.). By Sunday, we had raised $7,000 which was matched by SweetWater and Gas South bringing the overall jackpot for our Charity Cornhole Tournamanent to $21,000. 16 area nonprofits competed in Sunday’s tournament for a chance to win the grand prize which was won by Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. We awarded them a big check for $15,000 and divided the remaining $6,000 among the other finalists, The Giving Kitchen, Atlanta Humane Society and Georgia Jack Russell Rescue.

Our Charity Cornhole winners!

Overall, it was a great weekend and we really appreciate everyone coming out. See you next year!

SweetWater 420 Fest



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4:18 pm

Tips and tricks for becoming a cornhole champion


The SweetWater 420 Fest is THIS WEEKEND, which means it’s time for Gas South’s Annual Charity Cornhole Tournament. This year, we partnered with Cornhole Atlanta to host mini tournaments all around town and the ultimate showdown between the winners begins tomorrow at the festival. The champions will receive a VIP Party at SweetWater Brewery. Then, our Charity Cornhole Tournament begins on Sunday and over twenty nonprofits will be competing for $15,000! The money will be raised through the open cornhole tournaments and these funds will be matched by donations from Gas South and SweetWater.

To get everyone ready for this year’s showdown, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of rules and regulations of cornhole.

We’ll start with the game setup:

  • Make sure you’re playing on a nice flat surface with two league-approved boards. Bonus points for homemade sets!
  • Boards should be two feet wide and four feet long, with a six-inch hole centered nine inches from the top. Each board should be angled with the top edge of the playing surface 12 inches above the ground, and the bottom edge propped three to four inches above the ground.
  • Place the boards directly facing each other, 27 to 33 feet apart.
  • Each game requires eight bean bags that weigh 15 to 16 ounces and measure roughly six inches wide.
  • Cornhole can be played with two or four players. In a four-player game, your partner’s pitching box will be directly across from you. In a two-player game, if you start throwing from the left side of the board, you’ll walk directly across to the other board, and throw back from the right side.

Now that you’ve got your game set up, it’s time for some action!

  • Decide who goes first. Use a coin flip to decide who tosses the first bag.
  • Next, you let your opponent toss his bag. After he successfully tosses his bag, you toss yours, and well, y’all get the point.
  • Your feet should never pass the front edge of your cornhole board. If you step in front of the board, you get a foul. Foul punishments vary from game to game, so don’t cross that line!
  • Make sure a tossed bag never touches the ground. If it hits the ground and bounces up on the board, remove it before any other bags are thrown. If it’s hanging off the board and touching the ground, remove that as well. When all eight bags have been tossed to the other side, add up the score.
  • Once all the bags are tossed, tally up the score and do your victory dance!

How you get to the victory dance:

  • After all bags have been thrown, a bag remaining on the board is worth one point.
  • A bag that went in the hole is worth three points.
  • Add up how many points you earned and compare them to your opponents. Equal points cancel each other out so that only one team can score per round. For example, if you scored five points and your opponent scored three, you will add two points to your overall score and your team will throw first in the next round.
  • If you and your opponent both scored six points, there will be no points awarded.
  • A game is won when a team reaches 21 points with a lead of at least two points. The first team to win two games wins the match.

Cornhole Vocabulary:

  • Woody, Boarder: A bag that ends up on the board.
  • Cornhole, Holer, Corn in the Hole: A bag that ends up in the hole.
  • Dos Cornholes: Throwing two bags in the hole.
  • Holy Moly Triple Cornholy: Throwing three bags in the hole.
  • The Great Cornholio: A person that throws 4 bags in the hole. All present are required to bow down in reverence to this cornholer.
  • Get that corn outta my face!: A term used whenever you successfully counteract your opponent’s attempt to score. For example, when you put a bag in the hole immediately after your opponent does or when you successfully knock your opponent’s bag off the board.
  • Corn on The Cob: When a player puts every bag on the board.
  • Nothin’ but Corn: When a bag is tossed right through the hole without touching the board.

Now that you’ve brushed up on your cornhole lingo, grab a six pack of SweetWater and join us for a great time!

If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, get them here!

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4:11 pm

Play Ball!

After a long, cold winter and a six-month hiatus, baseball season is finally back.   So what better way to take in last week’s Atlanta Braves home-opener than hanging out with 350 friends, witnessing the special 40-year commemoration of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and spending time with a former boxing heavyweight world champ?

The friends were in fact realtors who attended the 3rd Annual Realtor Appreciation Day, hosted by Gas South, Atlanta Peach Movers, Silverton Mortgage and Pierre & Associates.  It was a great way for us to celebrate, and thank the real estate agents who have helped make our Realtor Advantage Program (RAP) a success.

And the champ? Local legend Evander Holyfield, who even took up cornhole for the night, made possible by Gas South’s Cornhole Challenge. The verdict: He could compete for the ‘cornholder’ championship title, too!

Adding more buzz to the night was the kickoff of our Summer RAP contest. We’re giving away an iPad in May, and every realtor who refers a client to Gas South will be entered into the drawing.

We all had fun and we were thankful for the opportunity to show our appreciation to our realtor partners, who had a great time too!

So here’s to doing it again next year. Go Braves!


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