Hello. Good to hear from you again.
1. If you have a direct line to the president of Sam Ash, then that is a huge hurdle that you have jumped. That being said, monetary support is based upon incentive. Sponsorship, is really advertising. Unfortunately, most bigger companies only support larger events that will give them the biggest bang for their buck in terms of money spent on sponsorship (advertising). When you pitch companies, you have to look at it from their perspective. They get pitches every day for events. You have to give them the incentive to want to go with you - and that will come in form of benefits. Will you mention their name in media and print ads? Will you include banners at your function? These are just minimal things. As with any advertising, they are going to want to know their rate of return on their advertising dollars. Bigger companies have their pick of larger events. They are going to want to know why they should go with yours instead of someone like the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (just an example).
2. Anyone is game, in this area. If it is good for business, most business people will spend money, but they have to know how it will benefit them. Don't think so much online. Step offline for a second! I think that was the point I was trying to make in my previous post. If you think local - getting businesses behind your idea....by connecting with them personally, not just via a letter or email. You have to be able to set up meetings. I was in sales for years...face time is a valuable commodity. It gives it that personal touch. Most of the time, you are going to get rejected by introduction letters and letters asking for money. That is just common. You have to go the extra mile and follow up, give a reason for someone to want to see you so you can pitch them your idea. Passion is everything. If a person can see that, this can take you a long way, but they can't see it on paper. Being truthful is another area you want to make sure you are in check with. It's easy to hype things more than they are. If you make exaggerated claims, and they don't come through, then the likelihood of a company giving you more money is not good...plus they will tell their colleagues. So entice, but don't exaggerate.
3. All (well, the majority of) companies have advertising budgets.
I know you are wanting specific websites and such, but what I relate to you is 100% true. This is coming from someone who was an artist manager, a promoter and a publicist. The quality of your contacts is a valuable commodity, but you have to be able to build relationships. It's all about people.
It's hard work, no doubt, but my first point was one of synergy. You create momentum in your local market (city) through PR, legwork....visiting people, hyping what you are doing....getting people behind it. Then, start soliciting money from "local" businesses and corporations. They will be more willing to stand behind what you are doing, because you have something in common - you are serving the same community.
If you can build up what you are doing in your local area in congruency with your website, you can begin to get funded or sponsored.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX of luck
Edited by Hugh on 11/30/2010 at 4:27 PM EST