NAC networks at OutdoorRetailer Show
Non-profits aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking abut the annual OutdoorRetailer Summer Market. But in a sea of sellers, buyers and distributors, the National Ability Center (NAC) has found a place to spread its message and garner support and equipment from numerous retailers.
According to NAC development officer Scott Lyttle, the show is a great way to network in one of their target industries. Lyttle zipped around the show on Monday looking for retailers that could help the NAC and their adaptive programs. Since the center offers so many indoor and outdoor sports, there are numerous ways they can benefit from different companies.
"It fits right in with our mission," Lyttle said. "It’s a great opportunity to come down and see what products are out there."
Before the show, all of the NAC program managers gathered and compiled a wish list of outdoor equipment and accessories. Lyttle laughed as he said that the list had an ambitious 150 items, but during the four-day show they were able to make plenty of contacts with various companies. Some of the companies offered professional rates on their products and others offered donations.
Lyttle was most excited about a new line of ski goggles that the NATIVE companies sold to them NAC at a wholesale price. Other items that they are on they were on the look out for included climbing gear, products for rafting trips and camping equipment.
The show also gave the NAC a chance to explain their mission and see if they could gather support from some of the charitable foundations of larger companies.
"Everyone I’ve talked to is really great, "Lyttle said. "Everyone is really interested in what the programming is and what were doing."
Unfortunately, many of the out-of state companies have already committed to their own local non-profits, but others were interested in helping the NAC. Lyttle secured the support of Proctor and Gamble who will donate deodorant eliminators for camping equipment.
Lyttle was excited about the general attitude if many of the companies and the overall philosophy of the industry to improve both communities and the world at large.
"It seems like giving back is a strong theme," he said.
Other successes included securing interest in sponsorships for the NAC’s competitive athletes, so companies can get their product name out to the public.
Marketing and outreach coordinator Ryan Jensen was also busy at the OutdoorRetailer Summer Market doing some networking of his own. He presented the non-profit’s programs and events to various outdoor publications for articles and promotion in the coming year.
Lyttle said the key for both him and Jensen to follow up on the connections they made at the show.
"You will meet a million people this weekend," Lyttle said. "The follow-up is what’s important."
Lyttle is hoping that next year, the NAC will be able to have their own booth where they can pass out literature about their mission and programs as well as introduce retailers to some of their adaptive equipment.
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