For our first challenge of the 2021-2022 program year, we were thrilled to partner with Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance (MDBBA), a recently launched nonprofit committed to advocacy, programming, and providing resources for Black businesses and entrepreneurs led by President/CEO Charity Dean and COO Kai Bowman. Eight teams of Fellows supported this project – learn more from the perspective of each team! 

Over the course of this partnership, our team, the Membership Team (Lily Passafume, Mx. David Parnell III, Courtney Harper, Josh McCaghy, Kristin Stepanek), set out to explore how we might enhance the membership experience at MDBBA by finding innovative ways to increase member participation, new member sign-up and retention, and many other initiatives. Drawing from our stakeholder interviews and insights, we were equipped to center our focus on the needs members expressed. To achieve our goals, our team designed a Digital Branding Guide, Member Retention Strategy, and Welcome Kit that includes a variety of branded items for the MDBBA community to enjoy.

For our retention strategy we came up with monthly goals from the 1st month of the membership year until the 12th month. During the 8th month we recommend spotlighting MDBBA members, elevating facts about their business, their accomplishments, and how their membership adds value. We believe this will be another way to show to how MDBBA is proud of all of the accomplishments of its members.

We love the content of the existing MDBBA newsletter, especially how it has a section for grants. This is important because any opportunity to link business members to gain funding for their business is vital. Obtaining funding for small businesses can be difficult and money can make or break a business. We have proposed an event where MDBBA could choose to partner with Bank of America. Chuck, a MDBBA board member, and Charity both highlighted how important it is for businesses to get the support of banks to help with loans. This is why having events where MDBBA partners with banks are crucial benefits for members. 

A highlight for our team was the Testing Phase because we gained so much energy from having Charity and Ryanne engage with our working deliverables. Seeing their excitement and gaining their feedback was fantastic – especially because they built upon our initial ideas and inspired additional deliverables. Realizing our project would be impactful was invigorating and uplifting.