It’s Time Texas (ITT) is a state-wide nonprofit with a mission of creating, leveraging and distributing free tools, services, and programs to drastically improve health and wellness in the state of Texas. The organization relies heavily on partners for funding, event marketing, and brand awareness. ITT had approached Sense Corp to provide a business case for the program, Choose Well, an initiative that the CEO had started. The overall objective of the initiative is to mobilize Texas food and fitness industries to make health related tools/products more accessible through education, culture norming, and affordability. Since little work had been done, ITT thought it was an ideal time to conduct a discovery phase and strategy development.
After evaluating the idea and purpose of the Choose Well program, our team identified a different need. Sense Corp recommended and then developed a business plan for a Partnership Program, It’s Time Texas Partner Program (ITTPP), that would be used to evaluate future partners. The program would work to achieve the following:
- Leverage business sponsorships
- Diversify ITT funding streams
- Enable more flexibility for ITT to target different income levels
Program and Strategy Development
To define the program, Sense Corp created a business case for the Partner Program, leveraging project management methodology and tools that were developed by our team (See our ITT Operational Improvements Case Study). With these tools, Sense Corp outlined the objectives and benefits of the program, before making actionable suggestion.
Mirroring the objectives of the ITT organization, Sense Corp concentrated on how the Partner Program would influence and supplement the pre-defined goals. To successfully support these objectives, ITTPP would do the following:
- Access: Promote physical and financial access to healthy choices, partnering with mobile markets and farmer’s markets. Additionally, ITT could join a Food Policy Council with local and state partners, to promote their mission and influence future policies/reforms.
- Activation: To improve brand awareness and promote Partner Program initiatives, ITT should utilize social media campaigns on their social channels and partners’. Also, co-hosting events and facilitating conversations would create opportunity to spread their message through word of mouth.
- Culture Norming: Tailor marketing and branding efforts to spread ITT’s message by partnering with local bloggers and a diverse group of grocery stores.
- Education: Encourage education by creating infographics for social media and implementing sticker programs with partner grocery stores. Additionally, ITT should host classes and workshops with partners in a variety of locations.
With these objectives defined, Sense Corp explored both the purpose of the partners and the benefits for partners and ITT. Both organizations would gain increased brand awareness and exposure, promoting brand and industry standing. Partners would benefit from corporate social responsibility by giving back to the community, that would in turn empower Texans to make healthy food and activity choices. ITT would become a proponent of healthy living and gain a diverse set of organizations that would support their missions and aid them financially.
To generate funding for the partner program, Sense Corp suggested the following:
- Tiered Subscription: At each tier of the subscription, the partners are offered additional co-sponsoring opportunities for increased partner funding.
- Individuals & Campaigns: Fundraising events and individual donor money would supplement the program budget.
- A percentage of Partner Program approved product sales would be given to fund the partner program.
Sense Corp also provided ITTPP with a financial model, projecting revenue based on funding suggestions and looking at the expected, best, and worst-case scenarios over projected expenses for the program. This model gives ITTPP a 5-year financial outlook, and a starting point to understand their financial success and pain points. The Sense Corp team offered additional funding solutions that included matching gifts, challenge grants and in-kind donations.
Partner Selection and Evaluation Model
Sense Corp also provided ITT with a partner selection criteria and evaluation model. The partner selection criteria outlined what ITTPP should consider when developing their partnerships, and included the following criteria:
- Company size
After finding out which partner best aligned with their needs, ITT would need to evaluate the potential partners to assess if they’d be suitable. The evaluation model considers the following:
- Aligning missions
- Understanding the partner organization’s background
- Aligning initiatives
Through the selection and evaluation process, ITTPP would then pursue future partnerships, create a partner agreement, and then work to fulfill the partnership. Together the organizations would create a shared vision, engage partner employees, utilize partner networks, and engage with social media audiences. The partnership fulfillment would ultimately work to achieve the aforementioned objectives and would be evaluated on a yearly basis to ensure that the commitment/partnership is still beneficial for each party.
The Partner Program provides guidelines for selecting and evaluating partners that would help ITT achieve their organizational objectives. With the Business Case, Funding Model, and Partner Selection Criteria, It’s Time Texas can now better measure funding received from corporate sponsors, diversify their revenue streams, increase brand awareness, and improve statewide healthy behaviors.
Amy McGeady, the Chief Strategy Officer at It’s Time Texas, said “We are thrilled to have a robust partner selection model that we can use immediately. The team’s presentation not only illuminated specifics about this project, but also provided needed insights into the thought and research process we can use for future endeavors.”
To learn more about the framework for the ITTPP Business Case, read our ITT Operational Improvements Case Study.
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