How to reach out to potential supporters?

You most likely know how to contact someone and arrange a meeting, but in professional contexts or when you are seeking help from a stranger, you may not know where to begin. In most cases, you’ll want to be thoughtful about how you present yourself so as not to turn someone off before you’ve even connected. 

In our program, your initial communication will probably take place via our messaging app. 

Here are some tips for sending a first message that will get you noticed (in good ways): 

  1. Introduce yourself.

    • Tell them your name, the name of your business or your business idea, and explain what type of business it is. 

    • Tell them where you are from or where you are located now. 

    • Point out any commonalities, like if you happen to know if you share a hometown or interest

  2. Tell them why you are contacting them.

    • Hopefully, you’ve read their profile before reaching out. Tell them what it was that made you want to contact them. Was there something about their experience, their story, or their interests that made you want to reach out? 

  3. Tell them what you are looking for.

    • Be specific about the type of support you are looking for. 

    • Make sure it’s a reasonable request. For example, “I’m looking for someone to review my business plan” or “I’d like advice on my branding” are both more likely to get a positive response than “I need you to help me start my business.” The last option is too general and too big of an ask to start with. It may overwhelm a volunteer and make them less likely to want to meet. 

    • Make sure your request follows our community guidelines.

Below are some conversation starters you may want to include in your message. 

Ideas for how to ask to have a conversation: 

  • General advice I’ve been thinking about X decision, and I would really appreciate talking it over with you and hearing your advice. 

  • Learn about experience or area of expertise

    • I’m working on a business that does X, and I would like to learn more about your experience doing X. 

    • I’m interested in X, and I would love to get your advice on what I could do to learn more  about X/get more experience in X. 

  • Career Job opportunities path 

    • I read your profile and I really admire X about you. I was wondering if you would be able to tell me more about how you got to X.

    • I would like to learn more about X. Do you have any ideas of people I could talk to or places where I can learn these skills?

  • Funding: 

    • I’m looking for funders for X, and I would appreciate it if you could let me know if you know of any grant opportunities or have ideas about how to fund X.  

When you get a positive response via our messaging, you’ll most likely want to set up an INTRO MEETING. Read the tips below for setting up a time to meet: 

  1. Ask about their meeting preferences: 

    • Ask: “Are there any days or times that would work best for you?”

    • Ask: “Would you prefer a phone call, a video chat, or an in-person meeting?” (only ask about in-person if you live within a 30 minute drive of each other) 

    • Confirm: What timezone are they in? Look at their profile or LinkedIn to see where they are located and determine their timezone. IMPORTANT: Make sure to specify the timezone in all conversations about meeting times! 

  2. Once you’ve landed on a date and time, send a calendar invite to make sure you are both on the same page. Use the comments in the meeting invite to specify how you will meet or who will make the call if it’s a phone meeting. 

  3. Exchange Contact Information: Ask “Can I give you my number in case you need to change anything? Is there a number I can use to contact you if anything comes up?” 

  4. Confirm: “I will plan on seeing you at X time on X day at X place.”

  5. Expressing Enthusiasm and Gratitude: Say “Thank you for taking your time to talk with me. I look forward to meeting with you.”

Need some feedback or a little extra help? Let us connect you with an experienced entrepreneurs.

Pro Tip

As you get closer to a meeting, you should go in with a plan. Write down your goal for the meeting. Think about what you will say and how you will say it. You may even want  to outline your main talking points.