Sponsorship are important, but how do we get them?

Fundraising events are a great opportunity to bring awareness to your organization and your cause. However organizing an event requires resources and costs to produce. Over the past few weeks of planning our charity event, I would have to say (and I think the class would agree) that there were so many more components in project management and event planning than we initially planned for. These components may be a small fraction of your event but detrimental to the entire project if neglected or not executed properly. For example, getting donations for prizes and sponsors may not be necessary for your event, however it is a great way to spread awareness and gain exposure for your event. Luckily our particular event did not require a significant amount of upfront cost to produce, however if we neglected to focus our efforts on soliciting sponsors and donations, the financial risk would impact all team members.

The Fundraising Authority, an online resource that helps non-profits fund work that matters. They published an article with helpful tips for securing donations and sponsors for your fundraising event. I thought these tips were very useful and hopefully can benefit others in their fundraising efforts.

  1. Utilize your network: Before going on a search for sponsors, talk to people you know whether it be coworkers, friends, and family members. You may be surprised to find out what connections others may have with businesses or local community members. Plus, the conversation may be easier to have with people you know.
  2. Do your research: Find out if there are businesses looking to sponsor an event. After all, there is a tax benefit for businesses since their sponsorship is considered a donation. Research what businesses nearby have sponsored other events in the past.
  3. Media sponsorships: Media sponsors are great partners to help spread the word for your event. Local newspaper and radio stations are always looking for stories to share about the community and it’s free advertisement.
  4. Outline detailed benefits: What will businesses get in return for sponsoring your event? Remember to provide them a list of benefits from sponsoring event. This can be free advertisement on your promotional materials, allowing the business to provide sampling of products, or on-site event promotion.
  5. Create customized pitches: One size does not always fit all. In order to persuade a potential sponsor, create a customized pitch that is personalized for that prospects brand or business goals.
  6. Manage sponsorship relationships: This should go without saying, be sure to treat your sponsors well. In the end, they are helping you and your charity. Keep those networks there in case for future events. Doing so may require designating a team member to manage the relationship to ensure obligations are met.
  7. Event re-cap: Lastly, send thank you notes! Provide a recap of the event, outlining the success that their sponsorship helped bring. Tying back to tip #6, providing a recap and showing gratitude will help maintain relationships for the future.

More details on ways to secure sponsors can be found at http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com/fundraising-events/securing-sponsors-for-your-event/

 

 

Risky Business

 

This week in class we had to turn in our risk assignment for our fundraiser project.  As a financial analyst I work closely with risk on a daily basis.  Something we touched on in class when we created the risk was just the basics. What sort of risk, probability, value of the risk and contingency plan.  In reality, there is so much that goes into risk.  That it why I chose to research risk and see what else there is to know about risk.  I found a great article that talked about the fluidity of risk. The project management realm deals with an ever changing environment, which means risk is changing on an almost daily basis as well.  In my business, the programs I work on are very complex, which makes risk management and analysis complex as well and needs to be continuously re-visited and re-analyzed.

When creating our risk at my company, we don’t know how many out of box failures we may have on a program.  We don’t know how many parts might fail.  That is why over time, it is pivotal to continue to re-visit our risk.  Something I use in my job is called a “gating month”.  It is a month when we think our risk will be retired or OBE (overcome by events).   That being said, looking at risk on a daily basis is so important to monitoring project health.  As a project progresses and evolves, potentially so does the risk.

A personal example from my job as a financial analyst on government programs has to do with gating months.  For example, on my current program, we build and deliver hardware to the customer.  Because of that, a risk we carry has to do with our second sourced suppliers.  If a supplier who makes a part for our hardware build goes out of business or stops making the part, we need to be prepared for the costs that will go into replacing that part.  That includes finding another supplier, validating them and then potentially modifying the part to our specs.  This isn’t just a risk we carry throughout the entire program.  Over time, as we deliver hardware, this risk becomes smaller and smaller.  Why carry risk for 500 deliveries when we only have 50 left?  That is why, as a financial analyst, I work with the PMO to analyze our delivery schedule in relation to our risk items.  I help plan when this risk item should be reduced and when it will be OBE. When that happens the PMO needs to make an important decision.  Do we want to retire the risk to our bottom line or do we want to re-visit the program health and plan risk items for other problems that, over time, have now presented itself?

I have learned through personal experience, class and this article that risk is something that needs to be looked at continuously.  It needs to be managed daily and analyzed daily for any changes to the project and its environment.  It needs to be reduced or increased.  It needs just as much attention as the project execution itself.  In the article I read I found a great chart that shows the fluidity and cyclical nature of risk management and risk analysis:

 

Now a few questions on risk management and risk analysis:

1. Do you use risk at your job?  What sort of risk management and analysis do you perform?

2. Have you experienced a unique risk circumstance? What happened and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Do you have anymore insight and input into risk management and analysis?

4. Any other questions and comments are welcome!

 

http://www.pmoplanet.com/cross-discipline-elements/risk-management/

Movie for a Cause-Supporting Autism

 

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Project Description:

Many different ideas and proposals were generated for our field project, however we had less than two weeks to prepare and implement so it had to be something not too big and feasible. We decided to do a Charity Movie Night and to partner with the Bahrain Society for Children with Behavioral and Communication Difficulties and Alia for Early Intervention to raise funds and awareness supporting autism.

 

We had a screening of the movie “Temple Grandin”, a biopic of a woman with autism who became one of the most prominent female animal scientists. In addition to the movie screening, we had an informational speaker who gave us a short interactive presentation about autism. We managed to generate funds by selling entrance tickets, as well as selling food and beverage to the audience. We also made donations open to anyone who wanted to contribute, even if they were not able to attend the event that way we were able to maximize fundslogo

 

Project Objectives and Methodologies:

Our project objectives were to raise funds, and to create awareness about autism.

We started planning for the event on 7th of April 2015 and we scheduled our event to be on the 15th of April 2015, so we only had a total of 8 days to plan, schedule, organize, and implement our plans for the event! So we had to have a very hands on approach with this project in order for it to have been successful.

We split our tasks and gave each other functional roles that were split into marketing, operations, logistics, finance, public relations and having a project manager to overlook all the tasks. Even though we distributed tasks we had a cross functional team strategy which allowed us to help each other when necessary.

Our primary tasks were to secure a location as well as have proper advertisement.

Since we had such little time, we wanted to spread the word as soon as we could. We created an Instagram account “@movieforacause” and used other means of social media  in addition to posting flyers on notice boards and digitally as advertisement. We also managed to get a local news crew cinstagramover the event.

In terms of the location we managed to secure a venue within a day from planning with Bahrain Polytechnic, a local university, who gave it to us rent free, including technical support for the event. We also had a few other sponsors, Canar who provided us with funding for the event and Janahi Design who created our banners and flyers.

In terms of logistics, it was very simple as the venue was fully equipped with chairs, speakers, screen and projectors. It also conveniently had a food area to set up stalls. For food and beverage, we had those delivered by either family members or the vendors themselves.0c8d8c404bbe8b521245f9dec24cdc8b

Also, plenty of parking was available as the event began after regular work hours, so a lot of free parking was available by then.

In terms of revenue, we charged entrance fees for 3 BHD (Bahraini Dinar) and for snack and beverage, we sold popcorn, nachos, chips, chocolate, baked goods, soft drinks and water.

We managed to have 75 attendees which equated to 225 BHD from entrance fees alone, 130.2 from snacks and beverages, and we also sold 87 BHD worth of autism accessories provided to us from the society. In addition to the money we received from the event itself we managed to raise 878.2 BHD worth of donations, so total funds raised were 1381.2 BHD. All in all we managed to create a very successful event in a very short period of time.

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Advice for Future Teams

  • Make sure all of you communicate well with each other, because communication is a key factor in helping you succeed. Use the most compatible means of communication for your team. Ours was meeting before and after every class and creating a shared whatsapp group.
  • Make sure you plan and document everything from the get go.
  • Have contingency plans in place, and if you’re doubtful of getting last minute approvals from somewhere or someone it is ok to work in parallel with your contingency plan.
  • List down all the possible challenges and consider the mitigation process in order to overcome any surprises.
  • Most of all, remember you’re doing it for a noble cause, so have fun with it and remember that it is very possible! We only had 8 days to deliver, so anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

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Lessons Learned:

We learned three main things from this project:

  • Planning. Planning is a key element that will contribute to the success of your project, it will help you think of every detail that you might have missed, and it will definitely help you avoid any risks.
  • Communication. We made sure we always had a way of communicating with each other; the workflow of our project went very smoothly thanks to that.
  • Commitment. Although a lot of us had prior engagements either with work or our personal lives, we were all committed to completing our tasks and meeting deadlines. No one fell short in that aspect in our group and everyone delivered on time which is what helped make our project so successful.  food2foodsponsor3sponsorsponsor1