Corporate Sponsorship in Public Schools

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Corporate sponsorship is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for schools looking for ways of raising cash quickly.

In the face of drastic state budget cuts to public education, administrators and parent organizations are growing more entrepreneurial in order to maintain funding for student programs. Corporate sponsorship is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for schools looking for ways of raising cash quickly.

“Businesses are looking for ways to make their brands relevant and to connect face-to-face with customers”, says local marketing consultant Jason Deal. “Community-focused events that support education obviously put businesses in good standing with families”. With hundreds of enthusiastic participants, fundraising athletic events offer an especially compelling opportunity for business marketers.

One school venturing into the corporate sponsorship arena is Rossmoor Elementary in Los Alamitos, CA with its October fundraising 5K event “Ye Galloping Knights”. The starting point was the realization by the parent organizations that they represent a highly desirable audience for marketers. “We’ve always known that we live in a special community,” says Friends of Rossmoor Elementary President Fabiana Frasca, “but we were surprised by how interested businesses have been to market to it through our school events.”

Seeing an opportunity and taking advantage of it, however, are very different. “Selling sponsorships is nothing like asking businesses for a donation. We’ve worked hard to create promotional packages that deliver real marketing value to our sponsors – and we’ve learned a lot,” says PTA President Micki Hill. The Friends of Rossmoor Elementary have even gone so far as to create roles for Development Directors, titles typically reserved for corporate America.

The results thus far have been encouraging. With

sponsorships ranging from $300 - $3,000, nearly half of the sponsorships sold within 2 months of the program initiation. “We’re very excited to be a part of the 5K,” says Long Beach MyGym Owner Ruben Bangi. “As a new business; we’ve been looking for a way to reach out to the families in Los Alamitos. This is perfect.”

While some parent groups have expressed concern over the influence of corporations on school campus in recent years, the Rossmoor Elementary parents have taken care to keep the focus off the children. “We set pretty strict guidelines in our sponsorship program before it started”, explains Frasca. “Our sponsors know what they are buying – a friendly introduction to about 300 parents with school-age children, and the opportunity to show their support for education”.

Despite the challenges of a crash-course in corporate sponsorship marketing, the organizers of the event are appreciative of their new business partners. “We think it is a win-win relationship", says Frasca “They’re helping us at a critical time, and we’re working hard to show them our gratitude by connecting them with our friends and families.”

Ye Galloping Knights event includes a 5K race, a 5K Family Walk, a ½ mile Jester’s Kids Run, and a Youth Health & Fitness Expo where local businesses serving children can showcase their offerings to Los Alamitos families. The event takes place on October 9th from 7am to noon at Rossmoor Elementary in Los Alamitos, CA. Between 400 and 600 attendees are expected. Participants can register for the event at active.com .

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