Let’s talk dollars and cents. One of the biggest challenges for program organizers is finding funding for Open Streets programs. It’s sad but true. While many programs in Latin America are fully government funded, the trend so far in North America is a partnership model where the costs are shared between local governments, non-profit organizations, and corporate sponsorships or donations.
To achieve a best practice model of Open Streets it is very important to get your local government to the table. There are many programs in North America that have no government funding and little support, and while this may work in the short-term it is not sustainable and will limit your potential of delivering the healthiest program for your community in the longer term.
There are a number of costs related to an Open Streets program that government may be able to provide in-kind or waive fees for including:
If your government cannot be involved in the early years, make sure you set an internal goal to get them involved in the future. Be sure to maintain a positive relationship with municipal staff and elected officials.
Regardless of your potential funder, you will need to pitch your idea and ask for money or in-kind contributions. Make a list of potential funders and identify any corresponding leads (i.e. people on your team who have good relationships with the potential funders). Generally speaking, it is easier to have a few larger sponsors than many smaller sponsors. Each sponsor/funder will require time dedicated to relationship building and benefits (ie. logos on marketing material etc). So be strategic.
Approaching potential funders requires having a strong internal understanding of your goals and key messages for the program, as well as an understanding of the goals and target market of the organization you are pitching the concept to. You also need to establish your team values and ethics, since you many have interested sponsors that contradict your brand. For example, a fast food company may be willing to help fund your program. However, a fast food company also helps contribute to the very health issues your program is hoping to address.
Just like when you are pitching your program to government agencies and local stakeholders, you are going to need a presentation package when meeting with potential sponsors. When developing your Sponsorship Package remember…
You will obviously tailor your presentation to your needs, but as the very least, be sure to include these 6 sections. but remember to keep things clear and brief.
1. The problem we are trying to solve
2. Your proposal: Open Streets
3. This is where YOU (the sponsor) comes in
4. The customized opportunity – what’s in it for YOU (the brand)
5. Demonstrate existing energy surrounding Open Streets
6. Closing remarks
What do Sponsors Want to Hear?
Feeling unsure of where to start with your sponsorship package? Take a look at these examples: