Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How I Raised $10k In Two Months: Sponsorship Tips By Alexie Young

Last June I launched the first annual Art West Gallery Tour on the Westside of Chicago! Most people had no idea there were a variety of beautiful galleries available “Out West” and it was my first shot to debut a tour that would reshape the sad perception of Chicago’s beloved Westside. Imagine an art-crawl-day-party touring through North Lawndale, and East Garfield Park to explore the arts and culture spaces like the MLK Exhibit Center, Legendary Art Gallery, and 345 Art Gallery. Our budget of $10k is what made our event successful and it took a little over two months to raise that amount from sponsors. 

Nearly a year ago, I reached out to the founder of the BOSS Network, Cameka Smith, and I asked her what was the best way to acquire sponsors for an event. Her response was “It’s all about relationships.” I spent some time pondering what relationships I already had and the ones that I need to develop in order to get the support of the vision. If you’re fresh into hosting events for here are helpful tips to prevent you from dipping into your personal funds.

Tip #1 Find a fiscal agent!
The truth about some sponsors is that they want to support you, but sometimes they simply can’t if your business is for-profit. Some agencies only give funds to non-profit businesses. There’s a way around it. Find yourself a fiscal agent whom you trust to allow your sponsors to write a check intended for your event that will be received by your fiscal agent. I found a reputable organization that was a 501c3 entity. They supported my vision and signed a partnership agreement. I paid 10% in admin fees so they could handle all the tax-deductible funding that we received for the tour. Moving forward I can now afford to file my own 501c3. Nevertheless, this allowed us to receive fairly large amounts of sponsored funding from large agencies without actually being a non-profit at the time.

Tip #2 Write the vision and make it plain!
Draft a solid sponsor letter. You can find examples of sponsor letters on the internet. Find one that you can use as a template. Make sure it includes a clear vision of what you are trying to accomplish, how many people it will impact and how it aligns with the mission of their brand. Companies allocate funds for giving each year, so make your ask enticing for them.

Tip #3  Follow a process when approaching sponsors!
Create a list of people you can directly contact you may take interest in sponsoring your event. Find a person that you have a relationship with that could be a resource. 

Create a spreadsheet of the contacts and stages of your ask. For example, keep a note of your points of contact, scheduled meetings, submission of the sponsor packet, received a response, and accepted funds. 

Learn more about Alexie:  Twitter @invizioncolorzinc

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Business & the Balancing Act of Life by Deborah Allen

Women have truly stepped out in this season and have become their own boss. We’ve put aside fear and have become business owners and entrepreneurs. Being in business and a woman requires you to juggle and balance much in our lives. Women becoming bosses are totally different because we take care of our families too. Women wear many hats in our society today and have a great responsibility. Living as a woman at the best of times is not an easy fate. Add business, entrepreneurship, family and know that’s not a simple assignment to pull off. Yes, I give you permission on today to say it’s hard but it’s doable. The balancing act of ownership and family take some getting use too. Sometimes it can be a little crazy and stressful when we are the boss, mother, wife and etc. However, take a deep breath and be all we can be as women. As women, we are built to multi-task and juggle. Women understand and know that we are strong.  We’re soft, beautiful, smart and resourceful. It’s in our nature to birth, carry, nurture and grow things. We innately have wisdom in us to bring things together and make them work successfully. Take that same nature and build and grow our businesses. Women are very unique in that we feed, grow everything around us. Yet we all recognize that daily it can be difficult to balance business and the rest of our lives.

I must admit that when I was a younger woman that I struggled and almost drowned trying to handle it all. I truly struggled with the balancing act and I was ashamed to say I was overwhelmed. I had difficulty keeping up with and managing everything in my life. Yes, I give you permission today to voice and say it’s hard.  It’s okay to feel that way. Ladies, it took me years to balance my life and responsibilities. I had to go through the experience of anxiety before I saw how to balance it all. Balancing your life is so important! Women now have a high risk for heart attacks because we are juggling it all. As businesswomen we are not staying at home moms are wives. To balance our lives we must understand that we are human and can juggle so much at one time. I know women that we are wearing our super girl capes to get everything done but we are human. Balancing life becomes easier when we sit down and plan. The key is to plan and be realistic in what you can do. Talk to and communicate with your family.  They have to understand that you have taken on the role of a boss and you still are here for them. Women take care of yourself as well. We don’t have to wear ourselves completely down to prove we can do it all. You are phenomenal women. You can juggle business and life.

Learn more about Deborah at 
Twitter: @ladydeballen