CBOQ has an almost 20-year relationship with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in hosting our Centre Court outreach event with the Toronto Raptors. We are in high standing with MLSE, but it didn’t happen over night. Here are some lessons we’ve learned. 

  • Be professional. This may seem redundant, but I’ve seen some youth leaders who approach corporations as one of their buddies. Whether or not you know your contact, if you’re working in a business environment, then conduct yourself accordingly. It’s essentially another cross-cultural environment you’re entering and need to respect. 
  • Plan thoroughly. In our Centre Court event, many people have roles. This includes our own volunteer staff and personnel in  game operations, security, event operations personnel, audio-visual and group sales. With so many parts, everyone needs to be clear what their responsibilities are. Having that outlined in a concise, detailed manner gives the company you’re communicating with a clear understanding of your expectations. MLSE has commented previously on our program cue sheets; they know exactly what is being executed in the program and when. 
  • Have Plan B (and C and D and …) ready to go. Similar to the above point, be ready for unexpected changes. In our context, it could include a player who’s not ready to appear (in some cases, the person left unexpectedly). Perhaps the sound system is malfunctioning. Whatever the case may be, have other options available in case things don’t go according to plan. 
  • Review your plans meticulously with all appropriate personnel. While our Centre Court event lasts for less than one hour, I spend about 30 minutes with our volunteer staff walking through the schedule step by step so everyone is clear on their responsibilities. I also meet with the appropriate MLSE representatives to also review the schedule line by line so they know what information needs to be conveyed. 

Working with a corporation can lead to mutual benefits. Ensuring we engage with them well brings credibility to the ministry we’re providing and a positive witness to the glory of God. 

What else would you suggest when working with corporations?