Top employers in your community, region or country—CEOs, retired CEOs, emerging leaders in corporate headquarters and regional affiliates—as well as appointed heads of business commissions, and leaders of private or quasi-government media organizations—are key influencers. They’re a driving force behind economic development strategies, often appointed by policymakers to important government commissions and advisory boards. Many are seasoned advocates for business-friendly government policies. They are often campaign donors, and many have personal or social relationships with policymakers as well.
As a result, enlisting and enrolling influential business leaders to your cause can elevate visibility and credibility, behind the scenes and in the public venue. These allies speak the same language as policymakers, and their focus on the bottom line and the tangible return on investment is persuasive.
That’s why influencing the influencers should be an important strategy in advancing your early childhood development work. These influential business allies can add momentum to your early learning agenda— generating support from other leaders, and often tipping the scales with policymakers and decision makers. And individual business leader support can also evolve into corporate or philanthropic support for your United Way, over the long run.
If the business leaders you know are not already early childhood education champions, they may need help in making the link between quality early learning, school success and workforce readiness. The Business Leader Engagement toolkit is designed to help United Ways identify, educate, persuade and activate business leaders to be effective advocates for your early childhood impact work.