The more well-known your graphic design business becomes, the more often
you’ll be approached for a variety of causes. We’re not talking the garden variety
“Will you donate to Buckworth Junior High’s booster club?” nor pro bono projects
(covered on page 144) but rather the times when you are asked (or volunteer)
to underwrite special events. These occasions range from sponsoring a
benefit for a worthy cause, contributing prize money for awards, trophies, or
scholarships, or hosting a hospitality room at a designer conference.
“Keep in mind, sponsorships are an indirect method of both advertising and
public relations,” Robert Spiegel advises in The Complete Guide to Home
Business. “You get to put your name out but you don’t get to send your message.
Sponsorships work best if you are already reaching your market through more
direct forms of advertising and are using the sponsorship to underscore your
name and distinguish your company from the competition.design
As you are considering this sponsorship “opportunity,” you’ll want to run
down these five points to ponder before deciding: design
1. Finances (Do you have sufficient financial resources?) 2. Passion (Is this a cause about which you are passionate?) 3. Time (What time commitment are you being asked to make?) 4. Exposure (How will your contribution be recognized?) 5. Contacts (Will you make useful contacts that you might not otherwise meet?) ENHANCING YOUR PUBLIC IMAGE: design As an experienced designer, you’ll want to consider establishing yourself as an authority in the public arena through appearances, lectures, interviews, and/or published articles. In exchange for the time and effort you put into developing a public persona, you will get back more benefits than you can imagine. Obviously, going public will support your business growth through networking, but it can also pay off in enhanced professional growth. Stepping up to the plate to share your design expertise and opinions with the public also challenge you to think more creatively and broadly than you would if left to your own private musings.design When you present or appear at guest lectures, seminars, and panels, you’ll give less experienced designers and students the benefit of your expertise. Writing for your peers allows you to communicate your ideas, experiences, concerns, and questions and, in general, to become an active participant in the design dialogues of your day. Along the way, you’ll be earning prestige and appreciation. Other public appearances and publications should be targeted to potential clients. Articles in trade publications, newspapers, and online journals; appearances at small business programs and trade shows; and lectures at continuing education seminars are all excellent ways to build your reputation as an authority and to make it easy for prospective clients to seek out your business acumen.design