CSPI: It Isn’t Just for Sales People Anymore!

CSPI, the Corporate Support Performance Initiative, is a training program designed to teach corporate account representatives how to position public television in light of its greatest strength — as a trusted American institution that uses media for the public good.

The goal of CSPI is to improve the productivity and performance in local underwriting by ensuring that sound and consistent business practices and professional development are available to PBS member stations of all sizes across the country.

But the tenets of CSPI can be applied across multiple fundraising disciplines. Articulating the value of PBS to stakeholders is done by staff in Major & Planned Giving, Grant Writing and more. Here, we speak with a recent CSPI graduate from DPTV’s foundations development team, Riley Sutika, about her experience in the program and how she has applied the learnings to her work.

Here is what Riley says about her CSPI experience:

I would be happy to share some of my thoughts on how I’ve been using CSPI with my grant writing and foundations development work.

First, one of the most helpful assets that I have been able to apply from our CSPI training is the product profiles, which have enabled me to more effectively verbalize and position PBS’ uniqueness in a very succinct way. These are tremendously beneficial in the writing of my narratives as I have a tendency to be very wordy. This played a particularly significant role while I was working on the Knight Foundation proposal for Book View Now since there were limits to the number of characters/words we were allowed to submit! [note: DPTV was awarded the Knight Foundation Grant] As part of the product profiles, the proof sections are probably my most used resources…these are especially relevant while I am working on proposals in the arts and culture space since there is so much evidence that public media influences the arts/culture communities.

More than just using the product profiles for statistics, it forces me to really go through the IVS in order to support my arguments. In the past before CSPI, I wasn’t connecting the value throughout nearly as effectively as I do now, and I’ve really seen a difference in how my proposals are received.

More broadly, the whole CSPI program was terrific in fully understanding how to better work with corporate foundations and corporate philanthropy, which I had previously struggled to do. As a result, I’m definitely more aware of potential opportunities that I might not have recognized before CSPI.

Riley Sutika, Foundations Development Manager, Detroit Public Television

Evaluating each tool and concept presented during CSPI was a challenging exercise. I wanted to determine if it was one that could be applied to foundations and grants. I mean that in a very positive way because I found myself thinking about my work in new ways and from different perspectives. For that reason, I would definitely recommend it to other Foundations and Grant Folks who are looking for new resources, unique perspective, or have a desire to better understand other areas of revenue… They will definitely get all of that and more! I thought it was time well spent!

Thanks for a great program and challenging me to reflect further on this!

Riley Sutika | Foundations Development Manager | Detroit Public Television | rsutika@dptv.org

More about CSPI:

A three-part program, CSPI Program 1 focuses on the reality of positioning PBS; it builds a fundamental knowledge of the PBS product, market and media environment that PBS representatives need to master in order to differentiate PBS and make a successful value proposition. CSPI Program 2 then uses those principles to build discrete selling skills, from the initial customer engagement to securing a commitment from the sponsor. For managers who have completed Programs 1 & 2, we offer CSPI Program 3 which provides coaching for managers looking to institutionalize CSPI methodology back at their respective stations. Program 3 works with managers on how to reinforce the PBS value proposition and consultative selling techniques taught in CSPI Programs 1 and 2.

If you’re interested in attending or signing up your station sales or foundation/grant staff in an upcoming training, email us!

Beth Drake | Senior Associate, Corporate Support | PBS

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