ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Microsoft Community Connections is a business development program that offers a turn-key event marketing (speaking) opportunity for local Microsoft partners with a built in SMB audience!!! 

In a nutshell, the program offers an opportunity for Microsoft SMB focused partners to team up with a Local Business Community Organization, such as a Chamber of Commerce, Professional Association, Rotary Club, etc... to deliver an educational seminar (the current content is entitled "Modernize your Business PC"), a solution focused presentation focusing on Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. 

Microsoft will provide the presentation and supporting material for the event.  You (our partners) will be positioned as the local Microsoft subject matter expert to this exclusive member audience. 

 

WHAT ORGANIZATIONS QUALIFY AND HOW DOES A PARTNER PARTICIPATE?

What types of organizations qualify for Microsoft Community Connections?  Nonprofit local business community organizations, which may be a Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Diversity Organization or other business-to-business facing organization with members who attend regularly scheduled meetings in person. Eligible organizations include 501(c)3, 501(c)4, 501(c)6 in the United States including District of Columbia. Offer is also available for use by government supported organizations such as Small Business Development Centers, however; they are not eligible to receive components of the program such as free software and money to off-set catering.

Let me help to further define the type of organization you should be reaching out to:  "any organization whose charter is to move the SMB market forward and / or any organization whose membership base is your target audience." 

How do you get started?   Contact the Local Business Community Organizations that you already have a relationship with, or want to be engaged with, and introduce the program.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  The organization signs up to participate, and includes you as their Microsoft partner of choice! 

  

HOW DOES AN ORGANIZATION SIGN UP AND WHAT DO THEY GET?

How does a Local Business Community Organization sign up?    http://www.mscommunityconnections.com/aspxfiles/step1.aspx   A quick 5 minute, 4 step process.  They need to enter their Microsoft partner information and the event date, when registering. 

What does an organization receive as part of their event kit?  When a qualifying organization registers to host a qualifying event, Microsoft Community Connections provides the organization with a free, ready-to-go event kit.  This kit contains materials to help conduct and promote the event such as: an event invitation email, postcard templates and posters, *$100 gift card to help with event expenses - aka - "the muffin check",  Presentation deck, (1) copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2010 to be used as an event door prize and special training offers for event attendees.   In addition, we will also give participating organizations *(1) copy of Windows 7 and *(1) copy Microsoft Office 2010 for use at their organization!!!

 * not available to organizations supported by the government

How long will this program run?  Microsoft Community Connections is an on-going program, and this particular offering will run through February 2011.  There will be a new topic / offering (Cloud Computing) in March 2011, and will run through June 2011.

 

PITCHING THE OPPORTUNITY TO YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS - my suggested pitch!

I am a local Microsoft partner and have a great small business program that together; we can bring to your members and prospective members.  The content focuses on helping small businesses make informed technology decisions. 

The events are easy to host and provide a powerful networking opportunity while covering topics that small businesses care about most.  Microsoft will provide everything we need to put on the event including:

ü  Free Event kit - this kit contains materials to help conduct and promote the event such as: 

o   an event invitation email

o   postcard templates and posters

o   $100 gift card to help with event expenses *

o   Presentation deck

o   (1) copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2010 - event door prize

o   Special training offers for event attendees.

  

ü  Free software - Participating organizations (1) copy of Windows 7 and *(1) copy Microsoft Office 2010 for use at their organization!!! *

 

* not available to organizations supported by the government

Sign up is easy and takes less than 5 minutes.  The program is exclusive to Local Business organizations such as chambers and associations, so you are the one that actually signs up with Microsoft to participate.  Together we pick an event date, and you notate my company as the Microsoft partner of choice to work with you on the event and deliver the presentation.

The current content – “Modernize your Business PC” runs through February 2011, so we should pick an event date between now and then.  I am happy to work with you on the sign up process.  Shall we get started?  http://www.mscommunityconnections.com/aspxfiles/step1.aspx 

 

RESOURCES

Additional Partner FAQ's on the program can be found here:  http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/local/partner/partner.aspx

Event Resources can be found here, including the presentation deck, event guide/checklist, support material, promotional templates, etc…  http://www.mscommunityconnections.com/aspxfiles/resources.aspx

Is there a Microsoft Community Connections Support Desk available to answer questions?   1-888-834-8564 end_of_the_skype_highlightingmcc@microsoft.com