The Adventures of Cindy Li
Geeks Love Bowling & How to get Sponsors for an event
March 26 , 2008
Once upon a time
the guys and I at Nclud decided to volunteer our services to organize the bowling event at SXSW interactive at the end of January. Everyone wanted to bowl so that part was the easy puzzle. The rest got kind of crazy we needed to organize the date, the buses, sponsors, volunteers, signs, wristbands, and the venue. I wanted to start off by thanking everyone for helping Geeks Love Bowling and apologize for not doing it sooner (due to me slammed with post sxsw deadlines). It was a crazy two months organizing it. We ended up with 51 teams participating (6 people per team) and additional 100 or so attending to watch and hang out!
This event could not have happened without everyone in the geek community helping out! Roll call commence! I cannot begin to thank you guys enough and I’m sure everyone that was at the event would agree.
- Angela Baxley, (who was a major factor in getting the second half of the bowling alley and the remaining buses we needed once we sold out) Josh Russell and Pete LePage for convincing the Microsoft family (Mac Office 2008, Microsoft Silverlight, Internet Explorer, Expression Studio, to donate prizes (Xbox games, Microsoft Office, Bowling Shirts, M&Ms, and sponsoring the majority of the event).
- Craig Cook for coming up with the idea for the diskette medals, the money he donated to create them and the time
- Marianne Masculino for donating time, giggle factor to make the medals, and being part of the day of the event team.
- Stephanie Troeth, Chris Moeller, Christopher Schmitt, John Croston, III for walking around and checking on whatever we needed during the event
- Matt Harris for helping me keep my head together before/during the event and tabulating the scores of the winners once we realized the computers at the bowling alley weren’t able to do it.
- Mike Cummins from the Developer’s group at AOL for donating the 80g Ipod for a prize when he walked through the door at the bowling venue.
- Kevin Tamura and Jason Beiard for being our registration welcoming crew
- Ngenworks my hometown, Jacksonville crew that created “Happy Webbies” , one of our top level sponsors, and brought t-shirts to give away
- Larry from Ma.gnolia for sponsoring the event
- The guys at Electric Pulp for contacting us to sponsor the event
- Sidebar for getting us to the part where we could afford the 2nd bus and the lanes (when we only had 20 lanes)
- Viget Labs for being one of the first sponsors
- Jeremy Keith for helping us with finding sponsors and helping setup.
- Opera for donating to the event
- Kelsey Ruger for giving us a lift to the event to help setup
- 200ok for working on the live stream twitter page
- and I’m sure I’m missing someone else but I hope not :)
The crew: Alex Giron designed the website for geekslovebowling.com. Dan Drinkard newly adopted into the Nclud family assisted with the website while Martin Ringlein and I split off the behind the scenes work like registration for the website, organizing the day of to make sure everyone had a great time.
Guidelines on How to get Sponsors for an event
We got an email while trying to organize the event inquiring how to acquire sponsors. I figured this would be helpful and the right way to go about it. Guidelines if you will :)
- Get involved with the community without asking for something in return, build up a reputation first. Don’t be “that guy” always asking for something and never adding back into the community.
- Write an email and explain why you need the money for your event. (Place yourself in the other person’s shoes and think what you would want if someone came to your door asking for money).
- If you are asking for sponsorship of a product you need to explain even more so what the benefit is to the other person.
- Thank them regardless of whether or not they are going to donate this time. (Even if they don’t donate to the event thank them. Remember that manners and grace will leave a lasting impression).
- Remember that if you abuse sponsors they will not return to help again and then you are going to be poisoning the sponsorship pool for everyone else.
- Check before your event to see if there is anything else they will need (if they wanted to have any promotional items to setup).
- Thank then for their help no matter what “level” of sponsorship they ended up contributing.
- Blog about the sponsors to give them attribution in the format of email/website/blogs to return the traffic back to them in a way that makes sense for your event (don’t spam the attendees).
- Create signs/banners for the event.
- Create facebook group for the event so advertise the event and create interest/buzz for attendees up.
- Create a twitter account for updates that people can subscribe to for the event for things like where the buses were, who was winning.
- Create a flickr pool for the event so that the photos can be pooled into the website and on blogs as another way to promote the sponsors/event.
- Create an upcoming page for the event and then people have a “machine tag” to put into the photos on flickr (another way to tag photos).
- Send a thank you always via blogs or websites or email.
- Only take as much as you actually need for the event. These companies are donating to the EVENT, not to your profit margin.
This goes for event planning and for life. Remember to do more than is expected of you, treat people the way you would want to be treated and in doing so you and the event will go far.