There are certain steps that should be taken when approaching sponsors for preschools or elementary schools.
- Find out how many schools there are in your county, district or specific area where this program will be carried out.
- Find out the total number of students there are in the grade targeted.
- Plan to get one major sponsor for the event. Go to the merchant in your area that would most likely donate books to kids in the schools.
These businesses include banks, car dealers, or any other businesses that have good sized ad budgets. (Watch local TV stations and see who is advertising during prime times). Some car dealers spend over $20,000 per month on advertising. One sponsor is easier to manage and will receive all the benefits of this program for themselves alone. It is hard to get full retail price from one sponsor so a discount up to 40% may be necessary to get them to pick up an entire school. With multiple sponsors,it is possible to get more dollars per book. One way to get sponsors, if you can't get just one or two for the entire project, would be so sell sponsorships per student on a dollar or two dollar per student basis. You could say "How many children would you like to sponsor for one dollar each?" Therefore, for five hundred dollars, they will help sponsor five hundred children and will have their name appear in five hundred Create-A-Books. (Notice how we said sponsor children. This sounds better than buying books. Try it. It works. Keep the focus on the children.)
For two major sponsors, try a major soft drink company and a major restaurant tie in. The restaurant (like Subway Sandwiches) can put a coupon in the back of the book for a free soft drink (like Coke). This one-two punch may work in your town. Coupons need to be approved by Create-A-Book. (send a fax).
When a sponsor is selected, call for an appointment. Tell the sponsor about the exciting promotion for a school advertising program that will provide them with positive press for promoting literacy, and increase traffic to their business. Only a few minutes of their time will be needed. Don't go into too much detail on the phone, because they can decide quickly not to see you. The less said, the better, because our program has great visuals (the promotional piece and the book itself) and everybody under the sun calls the sponsors and pitches them on the phone. I prefer the cold call, live walk in, to the phone.
Set up the appointment. Be on time. Take the product and all the company background information to the meeting. Be prepared to answer all their questions with the benefits to the sponsor and the community. If they ask if you are commercial and making a profit, you can answer yes, but you do a great job and a great service by putting this all together.
You are building the sponsors' recognition in the community. They become the "good guys". Your business and Create-A-Book will take a back seat in this event, since you are not the sponsor. Do everything you can to make the sponsor the hero, as they are. If the press comes up to you, keep the story focused on the sponsor and the books they are giving away.