Tag Archives: Sponsorship

Wanted: Cleaner Environment Sponsor

All special events produce waste. The good events try to limit their impact on the environment.

Over the years the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off has developed a recycling and waste management program. This year I’d like to take that program to the next level. To do this, the event needs a Cleaner Environment Sponsor.

The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off removed more than 20 tons of recyclable and compostable products from the event last year. There are recycling bins placed strategically around the event and in the VIP Rib Village. The Rib Village is a very important part of the program. All plates, cups, napkins, and utensils are made of biodegradable material. The glass and plastic at the event is also recycled. If it isn’t compostable or recyclable, we don’t buy it for the VIP Rib Village. Last year we recycled 600 cubic yards of cardboard. Since the program started in 2011, there has been a 39% reduction in the amount of waste sent to the landfill from the event. We are proud of this accomplishment, but we want to do more!

We’ve started to run into problems with our recycling efforts. We run into issues with contamination. Customers constantly put trash into the recycling bins. The bins are well labeled, the customers just don’t read them, or are lazy and don’t care. They also contaminate the bins by putting liquids into the bins. Once the bin is contaminated we can’t recycle the other contents. A few ruin it for the masses when it comes to this part of the recycling program.

Another problem we face is that the event produces so much waste that we can’t sort it and dispose of it fast enough. This means sometimes it just has to find a dumpster. Event attendees don’t know they can recycle at the event. They don’t realize there are recycling bins and that they have the opportunity to recycle. We need to educate the customers about the recycling program.

We believe that with a sponsor we can invest more in the recycling program for the event. It is a great opportunity for a company to make a difference by helping the environment while also marketing their brand as an environmentally friendly business. We are looking for a sponsor that would contribute $15,000 – $20,000 for the program. The sponsorship funds will go towards hiring temp workers to help collect the waste at the event, purchasing tools needed for the program, purchasing additional bins for recycling, and advertising to promote the new program.

The vision for the official Cleaner Environment Rib Cook-Off sponsor is a partnership to enhance recycling efforts as well as education efforts. The funds from the sponsorship will help build a recycling station at the event where customers can give their trash to volunteers who will then sort it into the appropriate recycling and waste groups. This should cut down immensely on the amount of waste and increase the amount of materials recycled at the event. Having an assembly line of volunteers working with the right tools to sort the items would also help.

Additional funds from the sponsorship will be spent on advertising the program and promoting the recycling efforts at the event. It is going to be important to educate the public so they are aware of the recycling program. This is a great opportunity for the sponsor to receive positive press and news coverage for their contribution to the event’s recycling efforts. The program will be a main talking point at the media press conference luncheon in August.

We firmly believe that with the right partner we could dramatically improve the recycling program at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. This sponsorship package is available for local and national sponsors. If your company is interested in pursuing this opportunity, please email RibCookOff@nuggetresort.com.

The Business Cycle for Event Producers

Business Cycle - MadAboutEventsBlog.comThe business cycle is one of my boss’s favorite discussion topics. If you want to be successful in business or be a successful event producer you need to know about the business cycle. You better pay close attention to your performance and financial statements so you know your business cycle stage.

Business cycles are often described as periods of expansion and recession in the course of business. The cycle happens over and over. There are three main stages to the business cycle. The stages are growth, stability and decline.  It is important to have good accounting so you know what stage your business is in at all times. If your business slips into decline and you see the trend in your numbers it is important to find a way to grow, or you may just go out of business.

The business cycle also applies to special events. Many long term events stay in the stability stage for a long period of time. Events are able to maintain the stability stage a lot longer than most businesses. I’m in that situation with one of the events I produce. The event saw rapid growth but then over the last three years the numbers have been very stable. They are great numbers, but we aren’t seeing much growth. I don’t want to see the event get in to the declining stage, so we are trying to add more value and new experiences for event attendees.

Another event I plan, Nugget Star Spangled Sparks, is in the decline stage. This year is the 17th annual event. The event saw nice growth the first ten years. Then the event became stable. Sponsorships weren’t growing, revenue from food and beverage wasn’t growing, it was all stable but no real growth. This was pretty good considering it was the great recession. Then over the last six years revenue has slipped and the event has been hit with rising expenses. Even though the economy has improved, the event’s financial statement has not. This has pushed the event into the decline stage. The event has lost a few sponsors and seen event production expenses rise. Now we are faced with the reality the event is in the decline stage.

The decline stage doesn’t have to last long. This is the time to come up with new ideas and adapt to the business climate. That is why we are adding more daytime activities to Star Spangled Sparks. For example, this year the event will have a Patriotic Bike Parade for kids of all ages. Right now we are looking for the perfect sponsor for the bike parade. Maybe I’ll call Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys “R” Us tomorrow to see if he is interested.

Star Spangled Sparks will also feature craft vendors for the first time. We are trying to find additional sponsors and accepting donations through a GoFundMe campaign. With any luck all of these efforts will bring the event back to the growth stage and we can continue to expand the event for future generations.

The business cycle is important to consider when you produce special events. Especially because analyzing the business cycled doesn’t leave room for denial. As long as you keep good records and accurate accounting you should be able to tell what stage your event is in the business cycle. Don’t ignore the cycle and you will be able to live through the decline stage and find new growth opportunities.

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Sponsor Brainstorming Experiment

Brainstorming. You love it, you hate it, or you just tolerate it. It can be tricky to have a successful brainstorming session. I was recently assigned the task of hosting a brainstorming session for sponsorship development. My boss thought it would be a good idea to have the whole management team, which is approximately 50 people, work together to brainstorm sponsorship ideas for the two biggest events I plan. I wasn’t convinced it would work, but I wanted to do the best we could, so I did some research.

Like all good researchers I went to Google and typed in “How to plan a brainstorming session.” I received a lot of good information, including good rules for brainstorming sessions. The most interesting search results were that people do better alone brainstorming, and then the contradictory results that people worked better as a group brainstorming. There was a fascinating article in The Wall Street Journal by Jared Sandberg back in 2006 called “Brainstorming Works Best if People Scramble For Ideas on Their Own” which caught my eye. The article pointed out some very obvious flaws in the concept of brainstorming. For example, people are self-conscious and don’t want to speak up, creativity can’t be scheduled for a certain time of the day, someone hijacks the topic, someone tries to prove everyone else wrong, people go out of their way to impress superiors who are present, or someone talks over their colleagues and doesn’t know when to stop. The article presents findings from Professor Paulus, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington. He found that usually group brainstormers perform at 50% of the level they would if they brainstormed alone. Brainstorming is very important to many businesses. I’ve never heard that it was so ineffective.

Other search results mainly focused on the effectiveness of brainstorming, especially if everyone builds on each other’s ideas. So I decided to use my brainstorming session as an experiment to test these two theories. At our weekly management meeting we sit at tables of 5-6 people. This is the perfect size for a brainstorming group.

My experiment…

Each person that came to the meeting received two pieces of paper, one for each event. The CEO gave an introduction and told the meeting attendees that we were going to have a brainstorming session. I started off the session telling them about the two theories and that we were doing an experiment. I could see the relief on many faces when I told them we would start off with brainstorming alone, that was a big sign.

I started the session by telling everyone that I would not give them a list of current sponsors because I wanted them to think of this as if we were starting from scratch. I also wouldn’t tell them if their suggestions were past or current sponsors in honor of saving time. I told them that at the end of the session all of the lists would be taken back to my office and I would send proposal to potential new sponsors. I then told them the sponsor levels but that was it. Then I gave them 3 minutes to brainstorm silently. After the 3 minutes they were given 2 minutes to discuss their list with the other people at their table. Before they started I had my friend in the sales department read the rules. The Rules: go for quantity, be visual, hold off judgment, build on top of each other’s idea, focus, and go for crazy ideas. They were told to work together to come up with the top 3 sponsors. Then we went around to each table and they told us their top 3 sponsors.

Click here to check out "How to have better brainstorming sessions" blog by Emy

Click here to check out “How to have better brainstorming sessions” blog by Emy

It was very interesting because the brainstorm for the first session went well. They came up with more ideas and they gave me a lot of good leads. The second round where they had more time as a group and less time brainstorming alone surprisingly didn’t go as well. They were all so talkative after sharing their top 3 suggestions in Round 1 that I couldn’t completely gain control of the room and get everyone to silently brainstorm for Round 2. I even called people out for talking to their neighbor like a teacher would, and it barely had an effect on them. Their lists were also shorter for the second brainstorming session. The event we were brainstorming sponsors for is about 10 times larger than the first event, so it should have been easier to come up with sponsor ideas. The quality of suggestion in Round 2 was also not as great as the quality in Round 1.

After going back to my office and analyzing the results I came to the conclusion that having them brainstorm alone for a longer time would have benefited us more. The results were much better for Round 1. The next brainstorming session I host I plan on using a similar method to Round 1 but I will give them more time to brainstorm alone since it received the best results.

Additional Reading: How to Have Better Brainstorming Sessions

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9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Planning a Special Event

To plan or not to plan...that is the questionHas anyone ever told you that you don’t have to pursue every great idea you’ve ever had? No? Well I will! Just because you have a great idea for an event doesn’t mean you need to go out and do it. There are a few important questions you should ask yourself before launching a new special event. I know from experience as an event producer and as an event sponsor that if you can’t answer these questions you have no business pursuing your event concept. After answering all these questions if you still think you should plan your event, then charge full steam ahead.

1. Do you have the resources and capabilities to plan this event?

If you don’t have the resources or capabilities to plan the event you have no business moving forward with the event. As an event producer you should never count on anyone else to do all the work or provide all the resources. It is extremely poor form to consider yourself an “idea person” and then expect everyone else to do the heavy lifting while you take the fame and glory. It is also poor form to approach a sponsor and expect them to pay all the bills for whatever party/event you are trying to plan. If you come into my office and ask me to sponsor your event, then tell me if I don’t sponsor you won’t plan the event, game over.

2. Is there a demand for this type of event?

Just because you like the idea doesn’t mean others will. You must ask yourself if there is demand for this type of event. If there is no demand, don’t plan the event!

3. Is this event duplicating another special event? Is this event unique? What makes it special?

If I get one more donation request for a crab feed I might scream. If you are starting a new event, try to come up with something original. You want to plan a unique event that will be an attraction. Don’t do the same old thing!

4. Has anyone else planned this type of event that you could learn from? What can you learn from them?

Several years ago I decided I wanted to plan a western theme bar crawl through downtown Reno. The Reno Santa Crawl was just becoming a big hit and I thought it would be a great event in June to attract tourists and locals to downtown Reno. I studied Santa Crawl online and I found the contact information for the event planner. I emailed him and asked for some advice. This is when I became friends with Matthew Goedert, one of the best event producers in Reno. Matt and I became friends over email and then we started having regular phone calls. He gave me great advice and I learned a lot from him. I firmly believe that if you don’t know something, you better ask someone.

5. Who is the competition?

When it comes to planning events there are several types of competition in my mind. You need to ask yourself who you are competing with for sponsors. Who are you competing with for event dates? Who are you competing with for event locations? One of the worst mistakes I see event planners make is not doing their research on the competition. Do your research, and if you find out you are about to plan your event on a weekend where there are several other special events, think again! This could make or break your event. You may lose out on locations, sponsors, and most of all event attendees.

6. Does this event attract the audience you want to attract?

Remember the western theme bar crawl I mentioned in #4? Well #6 is where I made a fatal mistake in my event plans. I was planning this event to get people fired up for Reno Rodeo and raise funds for one of the injured cowboy charity group. I had several bars signed on to the event, I had marketing materials designed, I had a Myspace page because it was early 2000s, I thought I had a lot of support, but I didn’t do my research. I thought for sure Reno Rodeo would support this event. I was on the Reno Rodeo Community Support Committee and we were all incredibly excited for the possibilities. Everyone I talked to wanted to be a part of the event. So the committee sent me down to present the event to the Rodeo Executive Board. I was a Wrangler Volunteer at the time and I didn’t do enough research on the board. Had I done my research, I would have known I was going to go down in flames when I presented at their board meeting. The catch with this event is that Reno Rodeo had been working hard to support their foundation, and the foundation mainly supported kids’ organizations. The last thing they wanted to do was have their name attached to an event that promoted drinking. It was the complete opposite of their charitable mission. I was trying to attract the wrong audience. They were more interested in attracting families to the rodeo and especially kids, a bar crawl was the wrong event.

Now I work at a casino. My goal is to plan events that attract gamblers and entertain adults over 21 because gaming is only legal for those 21 and older. I want to plan events that will attract people that like to gamble or like live entertainment that have extra spending money and like to have fun. I work hard to attract the right audience and I’m thankful that I learned this lesson early in the game.

7. Will this event be supported? Why?

Before planning an event you must ask yourself how hard it will be to find sponsors and supporters in your community. You need to make sure the community you operate in will support your event. When you approach sponsors ask yourself why they should support your event, but don’t pretend to completely understand their needs and business. If you can’t come up with any good answers, your event isn’t meant to be.

8. Why might this event succeed? Why might it fail?

There are so many reasons why events fail or succeed. You need to determine what it will take to succeed and always consider worst case scenarios. A very smart venture capitalist once told me to expect the unexpected. When you practice this thought process you start determining risk and consequences. In my own event planning experience I’ve found that city ordinances and government regulations are becoming more and more challenging for event producers. I’ve had several event ideas that I didn’t pursue because regulation made them unrealistic and they had no chance to succeed. If you can’t afford the risk of paying a lot for city services, insurance, and other expenses you should not proceed. Make sure you consider how these and other factors out of your control might affect your event and what you can do to ensure success.

9. Can this event grow and be self-sustaining?

It is important to consider whether your event has growth potential. In some cases you also need to be able to manage extreme growth. Events are expensive so you need to make sure that your event is capable of being self-sustaining. It is hard to launch new events. If you aren’t making a profit after the first three years, it might be time to cancel the event, or restructure. If your first year is a huge success, make sure you have enough funds available to prepare for extreme growth in the next few years. If your event doesn’t grow and can’t be self-sustaining, don’t pursue the event anymore. It is a waste of your resources and sponsors resources.

After considering all of these questions if you still feel like your event is a good idea and worth pursuing then by all means chase that event dream. If not, walk away. There is strength in walking away, especially from bad ideas or good ideas that are just unfeasible.

Did you find this blog helpful? Want some genuine and honest feedback about your event idea? Email me and I’ll be happy to give you a free consultation on your event concept.

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