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Planning My First Event: Finding Sponsorships

For this event, we started out with a $0.00 budget. Because of that, one of the aspects of this project was to find sponsors/donors. For those of you who don’t know, a sponsorship is when a company gives you money/items and you return the favor by promoting their company either on your social media and/or at your event. A donor is basically an in-kind donation, they don’t expect anything in return. We found sponsors, mainly donors, in a few different ways.

Jackie O’s is a local brewery here in Athens, Ohio and they are extremely immersed in the community and highly respected. With that being said, it would be awesome to have them as a sponsor. Luckily, one of the TAs in my class is an employee there so she suggested that they come to our class and pick an event to sponsor (there were 5 different events in our class). For this, each event group needed to present to Jackie O’s why their event would be a good fit, what they are asking from them in terms of sponsorship, and how they presume the return on investment would be. As you know, we had a wine and paint event and just knowing that we didn’t think Jackie O’s would really consider us. But at the same time we knew we had a great presentation planned and an even better event planned, so we were still confident. If you hadn’t guessed, our group was chosen by Jackie O’s! This was a huge win for us because it really gave us a confidence boost and we were very excited to work with such an amazing company. They really helped us prepare for this event and helped us network. Jackie O’s also set up a table at our event with their artist!

After our presentation with Jackie O’s we were allowed to start looking for other sponsors. We knew we wanted to have a raffle at this event so we were mainly looking for items or gift cards to be raffled off. We started this search by going up and down our main street on campus, and we quickly learned that we needed to have a little flyer ready with information on it - event name, when/where, who we are raising money for, contact info, etc. Once we had those made we continued our search by just being persistent, while still being very kind and respectful, with the stores. When we didn’t have time to go out we sent emails instead. We just wrote up an email format for everyone to follow with fill-in-the-blanks to personalize it. By the time of the event, we had about 15 raffle baskets, so I would say we did pretty good!!

Before we actually started looking for sponsors the idea of it just made me super anxious. I hated asking people for money or items, it made me feel bad and awkward. But I quickly realized that this was for an amazing cause and it would be a benefit to their company as well! Next week we will be discussing catering and entertainment, and boy...this is going to be a good stick around!


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