Excited to answer your questions. Using volunteers (mentors) for recruiting corporations I think is the pinnacle of ProjectED in my opinion. Let me give you the details:
For the mentorship program as a whole: My idea was more one on one and long term. However, the Macy’s program sounds equally as great.
On a digital level- mentors would have the option to interact with high school and college students using tech (for example, a videochat) since I know how incredibly busy the corporate workforce can be.
However….a web platform sounds like a great idea to. Matching corporate volunteers to high school/college students through a questionnaire based on their interests, goals, careers, etc. That way- students can pick their mentors, or a software device can pick the perfect fit for each student. Think http://match.com but for mentors. (sounds silly, but you get the picture I hope!)
Another point i’d like address is having both options is important for the mentor and for the student (a digital or in person option). High school is one of the most stressful times in life- students are juggling full time classes, extracurricular activities, and work- all to make their college applications shiny. They might not have “time” to sit down face to face with a mentor. But, they can easily access their mentor through a video chat for their session.
They can still have that human interaction- visually see WHO they are investing in (the student) with their time and money. On the funding end, mentors can additionally start small internal foundations to raise money for your students/organization as a whole.
Customer Engagement: I would definitely suggest a web platform that shares stories about the beneficiaries of ProjectEd AND stories of the mentors from the company.
You mention this: “Corporate support in the form of - Consumer Products - that when purchased a part of the profit goes to support ProjectED. When used and visible the products can raise awareness of the project's mission.”
Let’s say Square creates a product and partners with ProjectED pledging that every product sold- a donation is made to ProjectED. What is ProjectED a consumer would ask? There the consumer would be referred to the page that explains Square’s partnership with ProjectED- the mentorship program, corporate responsibility, WHO are these students, where are they from, what’s THEIR story and why does Square care? What is truly their investment on this product? This information should be via Square's website, with a referral to ProjectED as well. In addition, ProjectED should have a page through their website emphasizing the importance of corporate sponsors and mentors. The more digital visibility- the better.
Employee Matching Program: Yes I think an employee matching program is a great idea to get buy in. I think it would lead to better internal and long term connections with the corporation and it keeps their employees happy.
Corporations are built up by people. If enough individuals in any corporation are invested in a project it becomes a project of the operation as whole. If you focus on the employee first, creating a mentorship program and using them as volunteers, they will bring on other co-workers to join them, hence creating a team from that specific corporation. I think if you want a corporate sponsor as a whole- having employees back ProjectED would definitely increase buy in. I want to emphasize mentors are likely to be your early investors. If you can sell them on the idea you can sell the corporation.
I hope this answers all your questions clearly- and would love to answer any other additional questions you may have.
Great idea- as everyone has said below. I would like to emphasize on corporate responsibility.
"4 in 5 said they'd be more likely to purchase from a company that supports a cause they care about (if price and quality were equal) and 3 in 4 would think more highly of a company that supports a social cause."
Me, personally, will never think twice investing in a product if I know it is going to the greater good of the world. I think now corporations are looking to emphasize their responsibility to social issues domestically, and globally as a business. Think Facebook, Square, WellsFargo...even Goldman Sachs!
I think the most infectious way to get a corporation to work with you is not to ask them for money, but to ask for volunteers. When an individual is touched by an experience- that is way more impactful then writing a check. I would say, partnering with corporations on a human level, not a financial one, can yield a greater impact for your cause.
Of course, partnering with corporations on an outreach level is great but have you thought of a mentorship program to include in your corporate sponsorship? You can even do this digitally and can still leverage volunteers from the work force. Then they can put a face to what they are investing in. Not only corporate sponsors, but people all over the world that are using their products. Not to mention, you give greater value to the company on a financial level, but also a human level. That would help foster better long term relationships.
That's just my two cents. Would love to hear your feedback on it!