Have you considered looking for sponsorship for your yearbook project? Sponsored advertisements are a great way to raise the funds for your yearbook, school events, or prom.
Whether you’re a member of school staff, a parent producing a yearbook on behalf of younger students, or a group of intrepid students seizing the initiative and making a yearbook for the whole year to enjoy, you need funding to make it work. This is where outside sponsorship comes in.
As a bonus, it looks amazing on your yearbook committee’s CVs. It shows that they took the time and initiative to approach local businesses and people in your community and proves that they had the business skills to seal the deal.
If you want to secure advertising investment, you need to gear up a yearbook sponsorship hunting party*.
*This is a metaphor – we are not suggesting you chase down your yearbook sponsors in the street, and accept no responsibility if you do so!
Appoint a Hunt Leader
First things first, you should appoint a Head of Sponsorship from within your yearbook staff. This person will be an ambassador for your yearbook, and will take charge of going out into the world and getting the job done.
Think about who’s going to be good at taking the initiative, communicating with prospective investors, and seeing things through to the very end. They’ll also need to be relentless and resilient, constantly contacting people and dealing with the inevitable rejection – if you keep at it, it will work in the end.
Size Up Your Prey
You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Did you know that a snake lies next to its victim to size them up before swallowing them whole? You need to do the same – think about what your sponsors are looking for, consider how much retail space in your yearbook you’re willing to offer them, and snake your way to victory.
Most schools opt to sell a small ad section at either the back or centre fold of their yearbook, divided into halves, quarters, or eighths. However, if your yearbook has a particularly large page count (over 150ish), consider selling several full-page adverts; it’s a great way to raise funds. If you’re happy with selling a full-page ad or advertising section to a single sponsor, you’ll want to consider how to work it into the yearbook without it feeling unnatural.
The golden rule is, don’t sell too many pages of your yearbook. Remember, it’s supposed to be a time capsule of the great times you’ve shared together, not a catalogue of local businesses!
Scout for Tracks
Which companies and products do your school and students use the most? What might they need in the future? This could include anything from local restaurants, shops, local businesses, or even colleges and universities.
To get a headstart on tracking the trail, head straight for your school’s admin department. Does the school have any partnerships that it could approach? Did last year’s yearbooks project have any advertisers that would like to roll this over to this year? If you’re not sure, ask the admin staff!
If you don’t feel comfortable seeking business sponsorship, you could even borrow an idea from the USA: some schools sell dedicated adverts to students’ families, so they can leave messages explaining how proud they are of their child. As a bonus, they also get to make a donation towards their child’s yearbook project! Some parents love to do this, so hand out flyers to the whole school year to get them onboard.
Speaking of flyers, you need marketing ammunition to fire out to your sponsors. Whether you’re looking for students’ families or local businesses, you should consider your strategy for attracting potential sponsors’ attention.
Are you going to dedicate yearbook staff time to buttering these people up, or are you going to put together a killer leaflet or email you can send out to them en masse?
Bait Your Traps
Either way, you need to make it clear how they will benefit from investing in your yearbook project. Emphasise the fact that students will have their yearbook forever, so it’s a real long-term investment.
Some businesses may be interested in supporting their local community, so you should also outline what the money will go towards so that they feel like it’s a solid investment in students’ futures.
Draft Your Plans
We’ve put together a crack team of trackers and hunters, sized up our prey, and stocked up on ammo. Now, we need a war plan. Who’s going to design the ad: the sponsor, or the yearbook team? There’s pros and cons to both approaches.
If you ask sponsors to send in their own designs or plans, you save yourself time, but you might not be able to ask for as much money in return. You also lose a lot of creative control, which could mean the end result doesn’t look good as part of your yearbook.
However, if you assign a member of the team to putting together your advertisements, they’re going to have to liaise with your sponsors to get it looking right. It’s up to you whether or not it’s worth it.
Go In For The Kill*
*Again, this is a metaphor.
I know what you’re thinking. How much can I charge for yearbook adverts?
Honestly, that depends on the local area and the number of students you’re producing yearbooks for. The best way to figure this out is to start an honest and open discussion with your sponsors about payment and what they’re comfortable with putting forward.
The most important thing to have set in stone before you go in for the kill is a deadline. When do you need your sponsorship for? Remember that you have to get the yearbook to print on time!
Keep all of the above points in mind, and you should be able to hunt yourself a yearbook trophy worthy of display.