CSTS is lucky to be blessed with global sponsors, who provide registered events with a box full of wonderful items from via the Global Team. These change year to year, and may include CDs, books, magnets, and many other cool things, both Serenity related and simply shiny items. A list will be posted in the Organizers Only Forum, so once you've signed on to hold a screening you'll find out what marvelous things we have lined up.
It's also important to seek local sponsorship. It never hurts to ask. Book stores, comic book stores, collector/memorabilia stores etc are often very Browncoat friendly, or are owned/run by Browncoats themselves. Sponsors can come in all shapes and sizes – and can provide all kinds of benefits. A sponsor could make a cash donation, provide free/reduced rate advertising and services, or donate goods for a prize draw/raffle/auction/goodie bags.
Think about the kinds of things that could benefit your event and appeal to your target audience. Then, think of the kinds of businesses that could help. Your venue could provide discounted venue hire, candy bar coupons or free movie tickets. Retailers could provide items for raffles, auctions or giveaways, such as DVDs, books, Serenity merchandise, gift vouchers, etc. Radio stations, newspapers and websites can provide free advertising and raise awareness of your event. And you could get free/discounted printing and other services from local businesses. You can get ideas from other charity/community events by looking at their websites/advertising to see who has provided support.
Develop a sponsorship plan. Think about how much sponsorship you would need, and what kind of things would benefit your event most. Work out what you can offer sponsors, and remember that some kinds of sponsorship should receive more benefits than others. You may consider sponsorship levels with different benefits. It may be tempting to give each level a Firefly/Serenity themed name, but remember that this will generally have no meaning to the people you’re approaching. It is best to keep the names simple and easily understood – e.g. Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. When preparing to approach potential sponsors, work out in advance what you want and what you can offer. Do your homework and find out as much as you can about the organization, and who you should speak to. Target companies/stores who might benefit from the love and affection and general good vibes of a lot of local Browncoats. If you sent a letter, or email, follow it up about a week later with a phone call. Have a pitch prepared, and a written sponsorship request drafted – you may be asked to email your request and it’s best to have something ready to go immediately. Be flexible about what you want and be open to things you may not have even considered. Be prepared to spend some time repeating your request to many different people, particularly in large organizations, until you reach the person who can help you. Then, sell them on your event…but be careful not to oversell. They will often ask you to send in a written request, so make sure you write down the postal/email address and get the full name (including spelling) and contact number of the person you’ve spoken to.
Once you’ve made your submission, remember to follow up. When you’re making your enquiries, find out when it is appropriate to follow up with them, so that you don’t appear pushy. Some organizations need at least 2 months to consider sponsorship proposals, so don’t leave it to the last minute! It can be a long slog, but it's very worth it when someone is generous. Be very good about giving your sponsors something back for their support. Offer advertising on your website, by way of a sponsor list, or an actual advertisement for more professional sites or in a printed program if you use one. Mention them at your event and include them in any printed material you offer your attendees, make up a PowerPoint presentation and include your sponsors on that – you can display this before and after the screening. Verbally thank your sponsors and ask your attendees to thank them by giving them your business. After your event is over, write a letter and thank them, tell them how the event went and about the global success of the event. Happy sponsors will be more likely to support you again next year.
Global Steering Committee Chair (2010-2015)
Global Team: Comms Lead (2009)
Local Organiser/Crew: Melbourne (2007, 2009-2016), Vancouver (2006)
New Melbourne Browncoats Inc President - newmelbournebrowncoats.com