Making the Deal with Michelle Yepez
Michelle Yepez is all about putting people before dollar signs.
State of play: Yepez was named director of development last month for Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit focused on fostering a healthy Tampa Bay watershed.
- She oversees the organization's corporate and community philanthropy initiatives through growth in fundraising, donor relations and collaborations.
We asked for her best advice on finessing a major deal. When the stakes are high, how do you bring two sides together?
- 💼 "Preparation is key. Neither side likes a deal shrouded in mystery. By doing homework about the potential partner and conducting research in advance to understand the factors impacting the negotiation, you'll save yourself from unnecessary embarrassment."
- 🗣 "Speak your truth, but be gentle and kind. Generally a supporter already knows the broad mission of an organization before they agree to sit at the table. Don’t assume what their position might be on a topic, ask instead. Funders and partners are hungry for facts and want to know their company or personal values are being recognized."
- 🤝 "Say thank you. And mean it. Soft skills coupled with a genuine spirit of gratitude go a very long way. Fruitful partnerships are built on strong relationships and successful negotiation harbors trust — these in turn can open the door for continued partnerships and bigger deals down the line."
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