SEEKING SPONSORS for GSA MEETINGS
A Guide Based on Lessons Learned
NE-NC Pittsburgh 2011 Meeting
Focus on companies and corporations that are dependent on mineral and fuel resources: this also includes engineering and service organizations. For regional meetings select those that are within the area represented so that a local connection can be established.
- Prepare a list of the organizations to be called on.
- Do not mail brochures or letters before finding and speaking with the person at the organization who has discretionary authority.
- Do not depend on individuals you may know who work at the organization you are contacting to raise funds for GSA — they will be reluctant to ask and waiting to discover that will only cause delays.
- Do ask them to name and locate the proper individual.
- If they cannot identify that person it will be necessary to do a direct search using annual reports and internet home pages that list corporate officers.
- It is essential to communicate with the chief geologist, the head of research, the chief engineer or the owner of the company.
- Ordinarily you will not be able to do this without negotiating a maze of telephone menus and voice mails.
- When someone does answer the phone or responds to a voice mail message be certain to thank them for their courtesy. It will usually be a receptionist or a secretary who will want to know the nature of your call: before you disclose that be certain to get the name of the person responding and their telephone extension number should you be disconnected.
- When you do finally get to speak with someone-- and it may take many phone calls-- you will probably be well acquainted with the 'gatekeeper' and she will by that time recognize your name. If she tries to forward your call to someone else resist unless months have passed and time is getting short. Having found the 'right' person you don't want to be passed downward in the organization.
- Many corporations and large organizations support foundations that respond to requests for funding: avoid negotiating with them because they operate like bureaucracies, generally have a limited agenda, are slow to act and they usually don't support meetings or attendance at such meetings.
- It is important to speak with persons who respond to an appeal for the need to foster an interest in young people to aspire to a career in geology, mining, natural resources and in the mineral industries that our society and modern civilization depends upon.
- The next step is to provide general information on the GSA meeting and whatever specifics in which the contact may show an interest; discuss how costly it is to attend such a meeting and why it is important to sponsor the attendance of students and secondary school teachers.
- Emphasize that we are not asking for support for a philanthropy but rather that it is in their best interest that bright young people are attracted to the profession so that they can be recruited.
I did not emphasize the benefits of sponsorship offered by GSA such as recognition in the printed program and the various levels of sponsorship based on the monetary amount pledged. Such an incentive may not work in most instances but it may be a factor for some companies. Perhaps someone at GSA headquarters can survey the experiences of the various sections to establish some guidelines as to the effectiveness of various approaches. It may be useful for GSA to have a clearinghouse for such information.
1300 Bower Hill Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15243
On a personal note:
For me it was truly a satisfying experience to seek sponsors and, as in all new endeavors, an opportunity to meet people and to test and broaden communication skills. It was a pleasure to work closely with our most effective PGS committee for the NE-NC GSA 2011 Meeting and to have met and worked with the GSA Staff, even if only briefly.