An innovative platform is connecting technology companies with corporate decision makers, who then give back to Starlight.
When Matt Geraghty met with social entrepreneur Carl Gough in May this year, a chat over coffee led to the campaign the National Partnerships Manager at Starlight Children’s Foundation had been looking for. One aimed directly at the hardest executives to reach – those occupying the C-suite.
Carl is the founder of meetmagic, a business-to-business software platform designed to make a positive social impact by connecting corporate decision makers with technology startups and innovators. The social impact comes from the percentage of the fee the tech company pays for the meeting that is donated to the executive’s charity of choice.
While Carl had been talking with a few charities about the model, at that point none had fully embraced his idea.
“My perception was that it was an amazing concept,” says Matt. “He had some solid traction; the concept was there and it was working but he was struggling to scale.”
With recent success in the corporate space with the Super Swim and Sugar Free Me campaigns, Matt could see the potential for the meetmagic concept to be transformed into a Starlight-owned campaign targeting the top of the corporate food chain.
“We really wanted to build on the idea, the concept, and partner with meetmagic’s social business model to drive it for Starlight,” says Matt, all while leveraging Starlight’s reputation, scale and its networks.
How Meeting for Good works
The result was a tweaked version of the original concept – Meeting for Good. Technology companies can book a guaranteed 45-minute meeting with a C-suite executive at a cost of $1,000 and then meetmagic gives 70% of the fee to Starlight.
That $700 from each meeting gives 18 sick children access to Starlight’s hospital services, Captain Starlight and the Starlight Express Rooms, for the duration of their hospital stay.
With demand for Starlight Express Rooms expected to increase by 70% over the next few years, these funds are crucial to keep Starlight’s programs operating seven days a week.
It’s a win-win-win situation: the tech company gets valuable face time with a corporate decision maker that could lead to a sale; the decision maker gains valuable insights into technology that could solve business challenges; and children receive crucial support as they deal with their illnesses.
And of course there is the feel-good factor of the fact that by taking just one meeting, these executives are making a real difference.
Starlight’s main role is focused on building the campaign, the platform, the media engine and driving executives to the platform through networking and word of mouth.
Carl brings both the executives and the vendors in and coordinates the meetings and the payment. Working in collaboration has meant that there is often great synergy where Starlight has corporate partners such as Adobe who are also looking to take meetings with C-suite executives.
A key challenge
“Through all the different channels, anyone we tell loves it – they think it is brilliant.”
That said, initially not everyone outside the tech sector understood these companies would be willing to pay a substantial amount for one 45-minute meeting.
“I think that was Carl’s challenge in the first instance with the charities and then mine – how to bring it into a soundbite,” says Matt.
But the fact is that tech companies have been putting in numerous hours and paying thousands of dollars on marketing to do exactly what Meet for Good seamlessly offers them – access to corporate decision makers.
The power of the network
The power of the network has been a key driver of the success of the campaign.
Starlight has a network of State Advisory Board members who have proved invaluable in spreading the word. In fact it was NSW State Advisory Board member Paul Keen who first suggested that Matt meet Carl.
“There are more than 60 of them so they may personally be the right candidate or it’s their company or their network,” says Matt.
“We also have a strong corporate team of up to 20 partnership executives who also have relationships and networks. So the network effect is really important.”
That team have reached out on phone, email and LinkedIn to mobilise their various networks. LinkedIn has also proven to be a very effective prospecting tool.
Despite their already strong presence in the corporate space, the Meet for Good campaign has opened doors to executives and businesses that Starlight had never connected with before.
“What’s been fascinating is finding out how many execs are in CIO, CTO, COO ad CFO roles. They are not the typical people charities talk to.”
The impact of Meeting for Good so far
Vendors are loving the solution says Matt, with some booking 10 meetings at a time.
So far 50 meetings have taken place and 70 corporate philanthropists have pledged to 203 meetings, including executives from Credit Suisse, Guzman Y Gomez and Wesfarmers.
The results of the meetings have been very positive with executives rating their overall meeting experience 4.85 out of 5 stars, 100% relevant and insightful, 85% with a potential for future collaboration, and all of the executives willing to take more meetings.
The executives who have taken meetings are as enthusiastic as the companies they meet with.
“I quickly jumped on board. I thought it was a really good idea,” says Lucy Liu, who in her role as AirWallex President regularly receives 20-30 meeting requests per week. “We should consider the future legacies that we’re leaving our kids as well as the social impact that we should have. Being part of this movement is very personal and very exciting for me.”
“The calibre of the executives we have is just phenomenal, and the doors they are opening up – it’s been really exciting to see those leaders jump on board,” says Matt.
Starlight is already seeing the ripple effect from these new relationships as both the individuals and their organisations become more engaged with Starlight. “We can bring them into other events and activations that they might be interested in and they become part of the family,” says Matt.
The Future of Meeting for Good
The Meeting for Good campaign is heading in the right direction and Matt is convinced it has strong legs.
“The demand for these execs time is never going to diminish. The demand for new products and innovations is never going way,” he says.
“Our goal is to work with meetmagic with a sustainable ongoing campaign. If we can get the number of executives up to 100, and they are committing to meetings every month in an ideal world, it could be a million-dollar income for Starlight, an amazing business outcome for organisations, and a hugely positive impact for sick kids.”
Beyond that Matt hopes the campaign can reach a point where executives are helping drive the growth of Meeting for Good by requiring that meeting requests come via the platform.
“There are all these amazing ways this platform could grow. Imagine the executive who decides to do a day of giving and has eight back-to-back meetings.”
Watch this space!
Find out more at Meeting for Good.