So far we are very happy to report that every corporate sponsor from 2010 that we’ve spoken to has opted to return for 2011!
Offices are shutting down now for the Christmas holiday – I have a feeling that once I get a chance to ask the remaining sponsors after the holiday, they will be on board too. This is so important because with their help it allows us to have a much bigger event and party than we otherwise would be able to.
How we did it:
I have never worked with an organization that handles sponsorship like us. Ever.
When I began putting together my staff, I wasn’t able to find anyone to handle the sponsorship and marketing position. It is the most difficult position of the volunteer staff because it’s a ton of work, organization, and outreach. Big companies pay people to do this for 8 hours a day – since we are a volunteer organization that wasn’t an option. Since I couldn’t locate an insane person to do this for a volunteer wage…DING DING DING…As a famous video game once told me, “The winner…it [me]”.
At first I wanted to jump off a cliff. This was our first year! I had no numbers! Nothing to base anything off of! Where would I start? How would I prove to people that we are legit?
What happened next is what always happens with me – I forget about all of this and look for solutions like a rampaging barbarian…err…ok maybe Conan the Librarian.
I read books (specifically this one), I googled. I learned the formal method. I learned that it wasn’t an exact science. Then I realized that none of the formalities mattered because the formal method is aimed at large corporations.
I threw out the book (OK, well I kept it for reference) and I asked my self, “What do we have to offer NOW?”
We have good people who believe in this and will do it right. I have years of Project Management experience, and experience marketing my own art. I understand what is a value for a company and what is not. We also have a lot of indie creators who could help us get eyeballs on the sponsor when they promote their appearance at our con.
I handled it like I would want my own personal money and brand to be handled. I used my heart coupled with my skills. I didn’t just become a sponsorship and marketing person – I thought of it as becoming a marketer for the companies who were helping us. They got an Onezumi spokesperson, staff member, and a great event to be involved with. After all – it was easy – I only approached companies that I believed in. Honesty is so important!
What did sponsors get from us?
– I got a feel for what their goals were and created events that actually engaged people with each brand.
– I clearly featured them on the site with clickable links and endorsed links in blog posts.
– I made sure they had my email address and mobile number so that they could reach me at any time.
– I kept in touch constantly to make sure they were happy.
– I mailed them fun things!
– I did a ton of press and talked about them in every interview I could.
– I pushed out a social media campaign over all of my related twitter, facebook, and blog accounts. I made sure the tweets weren’t too long so that people could retweet easily. I made sure each post was hand typed so that it would not be mechanical. I posted from each account at offset times that also coincided with statistical highest traffic. (Nothing is worse than reading the same post on FB that you just read on Twitter!)
– I worked out awesome sponsorship packages for larger companies but also for small companies with limited budgets.
Really this is just a tiny bit of what I did – I added more fun things as much as I could. It was kind of like improv that worked really, really well because it really delivered results.
You know, things don’t seem like work when you really believe in it this much. I am so glad to be able to make this awesome party for everyone! Reg is almost ready to open and we are almost full on into the 2011 frenzy! :D
I hope this post helps some of my convention friends who are starting their own events. On the other hand, If you are a company of any size, this will give you a small idea of how we work. You can check out our sponsorship area here. As of this writing it has the 2010 documents, but I’m busy updating the 2011 documents right now. They will be up after the Christmas holiday.
Any questions – feel free to ask. We always have time to help other events or to answer any questions! :D