Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Milena Garfield Trobožić
In the contemporary world of culture there are several ways of financing projects and institutions, and each of them requires completely different approach to a very important question: “Why would someone give money for our ideas?”
Sponsor is not your friend. They are your Partner! In today’s reality marked with shortages of sponsors and oversupply of programs, sponsors are sought and found randomly. You shoot in all directions, and hope for a hit. But you can’t just offer a “corner placed” logo to a sponsor. In order to land a successful sponsorship deal, you need to know to appreciate every space that you sell. Because sponsorship is sales. Sponsor is not there to help you, or to support you, they are there to realize their business needs. That is why no crying, whining, confession, pleading, friendly persuasion will help you there. There is only business interest, defined by a contract. Sponsor’s money must be directed to those ideas that help their business, their image or reputation in public. So do not waste energy by going to the first sponsor that comes to mind, or to those for whom you know that they already gave money to someone. Know your sponsors in order to better understand their business and needs. In order to find the right sponsors, you first need to understand their business in order to offer them adequate programs that can support that business. Keep in mind: Sponsor is not interested in art! Good sponsor has to know how to use their sponsorship in the public and thus achieve return on investment. That is not your job. It is the job of the sponsors. Your job is to provide them adequate program through which they can accomplish their business and marketing goals. When you have an agreement under which you have defined your relations, you owe nothing else to the sponsor. Since the sponsor is not your friend, you don’t have to court them, you don’t need to invite them to your celebrations, you don’t need to speak about them in public. A sponsor is your marketing partner and you do not owe them anything more than what is defined in your contract. But no less as well. So make sure you are careful with what you promise and what you can fulfill. Be a fair partner and you will (probably) have long-term relations.
Donor is not your friend. They are your Aunt! The donor is neither a sponsor nor investor. If you are lucky enough to gain them, donors usually give you money out of their own convictions. It is because they believe that you are doing something important, because they believe in you and your mission, or because they are fans of the activity that you deal with and because your ideas delight them. The most important thing when acquiring donors is to understand that the donor is not there to support our ideas, and that art directors have to find ideas that will be exciting to their donors. Remember, the donor is not your friend. They are your Aunt! And aunts are sensitive. So be especially attentive to your donors, if you are lucky enough to attract them. The donor is someone who truly believes in you, who loves you just the way you are, who supports you in everything you do, who is there to lend a helping hand in the most difficult situations, to fill the holes in your budget, to stand in your protection, to understand and support you.A donor, same as an aunt, does not expect from you to return their investment. However, they do expect attention. That is why you have to invite donors to your celebrations and events, to remember their birthdays, to be kind toward his loved ones and to show attention in every way. You will sometimes take your donor along for a trip or a guest appearance with your ensemble, introduce them with your biggest stars. You will mention them in the media. All that you don’t owe to a sponsor, to your business partners, you owe it to the donor. And always keep in mind: Your aunt, that is your donor, must be proud of you, so they would have understanding for you even when you sometime, let’s say, “mess up.”
Investor (the state, a ministry, a fund or an independent producer) is not your friend. They are your Dad! An investor is not your business partner because you are not on equal terms with them. Investor is neither your aunt/donor, because they don’t give you money unconditionally. Investor is your dad. The one who created you, and without whom you would not exist. They invest money in your projects, but in return they expect you to abide by their rules and requirements, to fulfill all expectations. Each investor (same as sponsor or donor) wants to help you to succeed, because your success justifies their investment, but dad is not an aunt. You need to listen to your dad, and to play by his rules. Otherwise, they may terminate your funding, and dad’s support is often that on which you still mostly rely – it is the safest. So be smart. If you want to be supported and safe under the auspices of the state, foundations or ministries, you have to give up a large part of self-reliance and to be a good kid who acts in accordance with the set rules. You have to meet your obligations, to be disciplined, to report on your intentions and costs, to implement the set plans. If you are really good and successful, maybe dad will buy you a car, but if you are not, you could get kicked out of the house, and then even aunts won’t help you.
From rags to riches! Of course, there is a fourth way to sustain projects and institutions called – Independence. It means that we make our own money, and we independently find the resources we need for our ideas, projects or institutions. It is a road that requires a lot of knowledge, courage, work, maturity and self-denial. On the way, you will have to improvise a lot, to prove yourself, to find additional ways of funding. It is a road that demands a lot, a lot, of courage, and a lot of work. And stay clear of many dangerous side roads as well. Of course, this road is the most desirable one, but beware the pitfalls of easy money and lowering of standards. Also, try to persevere and stay true to yourself, even under threat of serious lack of money. If you choose this path, turn to those from the item 1 on this list, and study them well. Then, once you mature and exit the wasteland of pittance independently and standing on your own feet, everyone will run to your embrace. Dads, aunts and sponsors alike. Everyone loves a winner.