Recruiting

Soliciting and pitching to sponsors
Recruiting team members
Budget and timeline

Soliciting and pitching to sponsors

PMBP2.JPGBringing in machinery, tools and materials should be your first priority, and tailoring your approach is the key to success. Before you go out and ask for donations, consider why each person, business, or organization might want to contribute to your project. Have they been involved with children, recreation, or community projects in the past? Are they related to someone who will use the playspace? Will an improved community space, with decreased crime and more foot traffic, help their business? Will they receive public recognition on posters and banners? Talk to your co-chair(s) and fundraising captain about crafting a pitch and setting up "sponsorship packages" for businesses that contribute substantially. Below is a brief summary of the ways that people can contribute. Review these and then draw up a list of your best bets for tool and material donors.

Ways to contribute

Store credit:
Retailers may be willing to extend a certain amount of store credit so that you can buy what you need for free. This is ideal for materials like lumber and concrete that will be used in construction.

Donation of tools:
If a retailer or brand-name tool dealer is trying to promote a specific brand of tools, they may be willing to donate a few as an advertising stunt. All of your volunteers are potential customers! Being affiliated with your project is great publicity.

Tool loans:
Individuals and organizations may be willing to loan you their tools for the duration of the playspace build. Promise them that their tools will be returned in the same condition, or you will replace them. If they want, they can watch over the tools as build volunteers!

Donation of labor:
For major site-prep tasks, you may need not only heavy machinery but also a skilled person to operate it. Contractors may be willing to donate their employees' labor to your project. You should also mention to any potential donor that you're looking for build volunteers; they can spread word to their employees and/or offer incentives for volunteering.

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Pitching to sponsors

Hello!.jpgApproaching large sponsors doesn't have to be intimidating! Procedures vary from place to place, but here's a good way to start:

  1. Call and ask to speak to the CEO, president, public relations director, or community affairs director. Tell anyone and everyone you can about your project, and about the potential role for their organization as a major sponsor.
  2. Set up a face-to-face meeting with the appropriate person. This is key! It's much harder to say no in person.
  3. Prepare a written proposal (with a cover letter) outlining your committee or organization's history and membership, the playspace's potential benefit to the community, your budget details, and your specific donation request. Describe how becoming involved in the playspace project will benefit this organization; if you are offering a publicity package, include details on what they'll receive and when. Keep in mind that big businesses will take your request more seriously if you are already working with other sponsors or organizations, so include that information. (Your fundraising captain will create a similar proposal for general sponsors.)
  4. During the meeting, briefly summarize your pitch and hand over the proposal. You might want to bring additional materials, particularly photos or letters from children. Tell them how much of a donation you're asking for but don't push them for an immediate answer. Most organizations will need time to review the proposal and authorize the project.
  5. Let them know that you'll follow up with a phone call in case they have any questions.
  6. If the answer is no, ask them if they can think of any other businesses that might be interested in your proposal — a referral is a great way to get in the door somewhere else!
  7. If the answer is yes, follow up with a call as your playspace build approaches. Talk to them about their inclusion in the build and the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, and work with the public relations captain to recognize them appropriately.

Next, make a list of all potential tool and material donors, including a contact person and what item(s) they can donate.

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Recruiting team members

a08build.jpgYour construction team members will help you solicit tools and materials, coordinate site prep, and manage volunteers during the build. You might want someone with fundraising or business experience for solicitations; for those who are interested in leading specific build projects, leadership ability is more important than construction skills – get people who will motivate and include all volunteers present. Aim for two to four regular team members, and reach out to diverse segments of the community. While you're recruiting, keep a list of people who are interested but too busy; they may come in handy when you're recruiting extra build captains.

Once your team is set up, set up a regular team meeting schedule.

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Budget and timeline

Construction team budget

Get started on your budget below, and fill out a more extensive worksheet here.

Item and amount needed

Play equipment company
Fees & expenses: __________________

Surfacing company
Fees & expenses: __________________
Site preparation: __________________
Build tools & materials: __________________
TOTAL: __________________

Construction team timeline

KaBOOM! strongly recommends setting a series of small, tangible goals at the outset of a project; it keeps you and your team motivated and focused. If your co-chair(s) haven't confirmed build date(s) as of yet, work with the entire planning committee to agree on an ideal timeline. Then work backward to fill in construction team tasks such as tool solicitation and site prep. Here's a sample timeline for your team; feel free to create your own!

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