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The Ask

When I first started thinking about flush local companies, one came to mind front and center, over and over again. They win awards for philanthropy, community service, sustainable building practices, and employees serve on important boards all over the city.

Somehow I've managed to score an informational interview with one of these most-impressive men. I quake when thinking of his hourly income and know what a favor he is doing me. I'm intimidated and really excited. Time to get out the good suit and wipe my baby's boogers off my face.

I wonder what percentage of their pretax profits they give?

But I cannot ask that!

So this is what I plan to talk about (tweaked from a VERY helpful list provided by Marci Alboher in the NY Times):
1. I have great respect for your company. What do you think is unique or differentiating about your company?
2. What do you like most about what you do, and what would you change if you could?
3. I've spent my entire career working for non-profits. How can non-profit organizations do a better job of understanding the corporate sector and presenting business-relevant proposals?
4. I have managed a grant-making program that redistributes public money for 12 years. How do people break into the field of corporate philanthropy and foundation management?
5. My experience is in public programming, community outreach, grant-making and consultation. I am a skilled communicator, project leader, and generate creative ideas to solve unique problems. What additional skills or experience would you recommend I develop?
6. Are there any professional or trade associations I should connect with? Are you a member of the ACCP (Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals)?
7. How do you see corporate philanthropy changing in the next 10 years?

I would love to know where he went on his most recent vacation, but then he might ask me where I went and I'd have to say Detroit and that might just blow my cover. What do you say next? They sure could use some money in that city!?!

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