If you’re an artist working on climate or any other endeavor, you’ve likely considered what options are available to you when looking to fund your projects. Sponsorship is a viable option to get your climate-related project off of the ground. The process can seem daunting, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for, much less what potential sponsors are looking for. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Almost Anyone & Anything Can Be a Sponsor or Be Sponsored
Sponsorship may be the key to taking your creative efforts to the next level. What kinds of events and products are sponsors interested in? All kinds, physical or digital. Lectures, performances, exhibits, videos, ebooks, webpages, mailers, and more can all be considered for sponsorship.
Sponsorship Can Bring Many Benefits
Why work with a sponsor? When looking for a sponsor, it’s important to understand what they might be bringing to the table. Do they have a reputation that can expand your impact? Can their connections (individuals, emails, websites, social networks, media) widen your reach? Can their resources help you get jobs done? Do they have funds that can make things happen?
You Can Work With Multiple Sponsors
You may be able to work with more than one sponsor at a time. Working with more than one sponsor can create new opportunities. You can get to a target quicker or create a bigger pool when the load is shared, making it more likely that they’ll come on board.
Be Creative When Identifying Potential Sponsors
Sponsors can be one-time, short-term, or long-term relationships. You might be surprised how wide a net you can cast for sponsors including individuals, businesses, organizations, media and corporations. Given your interest in UCA, you’re aligned with not just one but two widely supported causes – the environment and the arts. While you research potential sponsors, be sure that your values and theirs can be aligned favorably by researching their public messages (branding, mission, advertising) and practices. The knowledge you acquire in this process will both give you a better understanding of their identity, and it will impress them once you begin a dialogue.
Find The Right Person To Contact
One of the most challenging tasks about securing sponsorship is figuring out who to contact and how to contact them. Think creatively. Do your research. Ask for ideas. Whenever you can, get a reference. When you start making cold calls, always turn rejections into referrals – “If you’re not the person to talk to, can you tell me who is and the best way to contact them?” Or, “If you’re not able to be a sponsor this time, do you know anyone who might be interested?”
Pitch Your Idea Passionately
When you find the right person to approach, make a memorable presentation with a clear request and expected outcomes. Treat your pitch as if it were a sale – creatively and professionally. Remember, you and your art are the things that you are most passionate about and they’re the things that are most likely to stand out during your presentation (pitch, email, letter, flyer, booklet, video) so highlight them.
Tailor Your Ask To Your Target
Tailor what you ask a sponsor to the size and resources of the sponsor you’re approaching. Remember, you can ask for many different kinds of things – connections, publicity, a venue, labor, materials, giveaways or money. Be clear about what you are asking for but stay open to new ideas and possibilities that arise during your discussion. Once you secure an agreement, follow up and restate the details in writing to avoid future misunderstandings.
Deliver What You Promised
Always deliver what you promised creatively, professionally, and with a great attitude. Remind your sponsors when your event is; a progress report before this reminder may also be appropriate. Be careful not to perform acts or send messages that are not aligned with your sponsor’s goals.
Follow up after delivering. Sponsors love documentation (photographs, videos, copies of petitions, attendance records) and showing tangible results will make them more likely to work with you again and more likely to talk about you and what you did to others, which may lead to more opportunities.
Sponsorship has many great benefits but if a sponsor or the terms of sponsorship aren’t favorable walk away – and find another sponsor.
John Paul Caponigro is a pioneer among visual artists working with digital media. His art has been exhibited internationally and purchased by numerous private and public collections including Princeton University, the Estée Lauder collection, and the Smithsonian. His work is about the perception of nature and the nature of perception and both a call to connection with nature and for conscientious creative interaction with our environment during a time of rapid change.
Learn more – visit www.johnpaulcaponigro.com and get a free subscription to his enews Insights.