Thursday, February 20, 2014

Do Not Hesitate to Contact

In conducting a search to find an appropriate project, it is necessary to initiate contact with potential clients. For many introverted or socially awkward programmers, this first attempt at making contact may prove quite daunting. Here is a recommend outline for that initial outreach:

Always begin contact with a polite introduction. I usually try to keep it short and sweet, while simultaneously packing in a good amount of information about myself.
"Aloha! I'm Allison, a senior at Hawaii Pacific University, pursuing a double major in Math Education and Computer Science."
Although it is common in many cultures to spend a great deal of time socializing prior to getting down to the nitty-gritty of business, Americans tend to prefer direct, concise communication. When I give my reason for initiating contact, I try to keep it to one or two sentences. It is important to be both clear and complete in these phrases.
"In my software engineering course this semester, I have been asked to reach out to the community and work with a local non-profit. I was wondering if your organization has any technological needs that might be fulfilled by software development."
Once you have stated your reason for contacting your target organization, I recommend giving available times as well as contact information, allowing effortless scheduling of your first meeting.
"I would love to speak with you regarding any ideas you might have. I am available Tuesday and Thursday after 1 PM, and can be reached most quickly via cell: ###-###-####.
Again, the closing should be polite and succinct.
"Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to meeting with you!


  1. I love the way your blogs are structured... keep it going :)

  2. Thank you! Let me know if you ever want any help writing. Glad to share what I do know!

  3. this is great, but did you do another post on a specific outreach you are planning? On of your three brainstorms perhaps?

  4. This actually was what I was specifically planning to use to reach out...I was of the impression that we were not to be the ones coming up with the ideas of the project, but that we were to let them brainstorm. That's why I didn't specify any of the projects I had conceived. Was I way off-track?

  5. No, that makes sense, although I had been expecting the outreach to be specific to the particular organization you were first thinking of contacting, rather than completely generic, but having a completely generic template is good too. Part of the flow that I imagine is brainstorming a number of organizations to contact, and then focusing on contacting a specific one. At least I assume that by being concrete in that fashion makes the assignment easier. So your assignment is great - I was just wondering which of the ideas/organizations you were starting to focus in on.

  6. Ahh, yes. Good question. I did speak with the head of a local dive club last week. I've got some momentum on the project after startup weekend, and I'm trying to use the class to work on the non-business portion of the site, then after the class is over, I can work to integrate the part that will hopefully help me turn a small profit!