How do you go from zero dollars and no track record to securing a sponsorship?
As the old saying goes, “It’s easier to get money when you have money.”
There are a number of factors that come into play:
1) Event Organizer Credibility
If the lead event organizer has a reputation for being big on ideas and short on follow-through, that is a red flag to a potential corporate sponsor. Marketing personnel stake their professional careers on protecting the company name. They prefer to be affiliated with those events where the event organizer can deliver on the promises he or she makes.
Whether the event organizer is willing to delegate and share responsibility, as well as the spotlight, all come into play in making or breaking an event. If each of the event’s volunteers has autonomy in their designated area, it is possible the sum of the parts can outshine and overcome a disorganized leader.
Corporate funding sources have a wide network and can easily find out who is involved and who is in charge and who is in control. Don’t assume being in charge is the same as being in control.
When the lead organizer is taking the event off course, it’s possible the remaining team leaders have the skill sets to step up and steer the boat or right the ship if needed.
2) Guilty by Association
If the lead event organizer has a proven track record of success, it is assumed they will continue being a winner. Successful leaders typically have the ability to see the large picture and the small details. They can define the jobs needing to be done, build a team and assign individuals with matching skill sets.
Most importantly they give each team member responsibility, as well as the authority to meet their goals. They often lead by example. Rarely does a micro-manager survive in running an event single-handed. Events require a massive undertaking of volunteers at varying levels.
If “Idea Person” has managed to bring into their circle of volunteers well-respected community leaders, it will win points from funding sources. The assumption is those leaders have a vested interest in the event succeeding, as well as the skill set to do what is necessary to overcompensate for a non-performer.
3) Finding the Right Volunteers
A strategic move is to bring in a number of volunteers who work for major corporations.
Assume but don’t rely on each to present a proposal or open a door to his or her company. Not everyone has an existing relationship with their corporate marketing department or feels comfortable in making “the ask.” Where a particular volunteer sits in the corporate chain of command falls into play, too. Perhaps the volunteer’s boss is involved in a higher profile event or project and significant funding is encumbered for them instead.
Realize these same high profile community volunteers are approached regularly and a superficial request to become involved is rarely accepted. Some “volunteers” may also be tapped out both in time and corporate support.
To learn more about event and festival management, check out “Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals.” For those with event planning experience, consider, “Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Tools and Resources.” Both are written by internationally known author and speaker Lynn Fuhler and are available on Amazon and at major booksellers.