Closing Out the Month with a Win

February 28, 2014 By Tom

There’s no such thing as “quick” in the world I work in.

There’s only hard work, building relationships and delivering unique opportunities to industries that have grown weary of traditional marketing methods.  In a lot of ways, I was ahead of the curve on some of the market shift that the world is now seeing when it comes to companies looking for “different” and “visible” community relationships that make a difference versus just buying ad space on a billboard or television.

About a year ago, when Foundations kept saying “no” to helping Nine13sports grow, I got fed up and decided to find a better way to engage corporate support.  Realizing that we had something tangible, a chance to brand and promote in the schools–I began my efforts to grow relationships that could capitalize on that.  This is when I really feel like I took on the role of “social entrepreneur” versus NPO Director; I suddenly was selling a product instead of just fighting for dollars based on generosity.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard me say this before, but I’m using this blog just as much as a method to organize my thoughts for a future book, so stay with me.

It took a long time, lots of heartbreak, lots of “maybes”, lots of “no’s”, lots of frustration and a hell of a lot of resiliency–but that hard work, the hundreds of meetings, the late nights and early mornings, the stress and the worry, the doubt of others, the occasional self-doubt, the stack of letters saying “thank you for your grant application, but…”—it’s all beginning to morph into fruitful relationships that are bringing in cash for the “little NPO that could” and more importantly; we’re shaping up to make the difference in the community with the impact these dollars create.

The catalyst for this blog post is that we announced last night that Regions Bank is joining forces with Nine13 as a major sponsor (read here: .  While the press release will be issued next week, we’re able to officially say that the bank that uses the green bike in their marketing felt we were a great fit for their message.  Additionally, we were able to broker a relationship that will bring in actual bank employees to help teach financial literacy and education to hundreds of students in schools.  I’ve always said that the bike is the equalizer, the connector, the tool to bring people together–and we’re seeing that translate into the marketing relationships we’re growing.

Trip gets it

But it wasn’t just the sponsorship we landed this week; our services have been retained (and paid for) with a school district & hospital for some summer programming, with a community center for some of their summer programming and a couple of other things I’m eager to announce over the coming few weeks.

I’ve got major meetings with several marketing departments that we’ve either been working with previously or that are interested in retaining our services over the next 10 days, meetings that were requested by them to work with us.

Things are coming together.  It took forever, it’s been frustrating and heartbreaking, but hard work, loyalty, knowing what is possible and being self-driven have put my organization in the perfect position for a path forward.

Feeling good, feeling confident and excited to continue to make a difference in Indianapolis for years to come.