If you read last week's post--an interview with two of our development mavens--you'll know that there's a great deal to consider when approaching a potential donor/sponsor. This week, Jennifer and Marissa offer more practical advice on how to reel in the big fish.
1. Don't know whom to contact or how to find the right person with whom to speak? Start with basics, like the the company's website. Find some contacts in the marketing department and start those phone calls. Don't get too discouraged. You'll eventually find someone who can help. PERSEVERE!
2. If blind calling is not your gig, go to your chamber of commerce. Start on the local level. Perhaps there's a company/business that would like to do outreach or tap into a different market.
3. Talk to other organizations in your area. Who sponsors them? Have they gotten results from x,y, or z business? Sometimes, competing organizations can be reluctant to relinquish those details, but printed programs and brochures speak for themselves. Was the name of an area car dealership on the cover of museum X's exhibition brochure? They should be #1 on your list to approach.
4. Make connections. There's nothing wrong with requesting an informational interview with someone in a business. Ask them what kind of programs/projects they'd be interested in sponsoring. This is not to say you're putting the cart before the horse: it's all about gathering data.
5. Put your institution out there. Rent out your facilities for seminars, professional meetings, and even weddings. You'll be creating valuable name recognition as well as letting people know that you're already well-known in the community.
Looking for another way to fund a SITES-related exhibition? Apply for a community grant!