Behind the scenes | Sponsorship – The Underdog

The kind of dedication that is required to be a part of the sponsorship team is extraordinary. The team had been working since the beginning of November till the 1st week of March non-stop. Without the money coming in for the fest, Revels may not have able to function as the way it is.
This underdog barked its way to glory this year, when the sponsorship team managed to bring in eight and a half times of the sponsorship compared to that of last year’s. We, at MTTN, took it upon ourselves to interview Gaurang, Category Head of Sponsorship, to get the insights on what went down to achieve this success.

How many people have you recruited for Sponsorship?
We have a team of 26 members – 22 organisers and three coordinators. For solely the purpose of groundwork for our sponsors, we’ve recruited five volunteers this year. Sponsorship has never had volunteers in the history of Revels previously. The volunteers do not speak directly to the sponsors. Instead, it is the organisers who get in touch with companies to get a deal set.

How do you become an organiser?
Usually when you join as an organiser, you don’t know anything about the companies – at least not more than just their contact numbers that you got off from the websites. When you start talking to them, you’ll start figuring out patterns or relationships between companies. If you know one company, you’ll end up getting to know five more companies since they refer you to their other contacts.

The first 3 months of work is all about how many companies you can contact and persuade into setting deals with. It takes a year to build a relationship with a company and get to a point where we can directly ask them for money. So the one thing to look for in an organiser is how well they can answer questions on the spot and pitch the fest to the sponsors.

How do you convince companies to sponsor you? Is this year’s strategy different from last year’s and how?
Sponsorship was previously seen as the money-making department of the fest, and currently, it is viewed as three different categories – Fund raising, cost cutting and branding. Most people are unaware, but we do handle the branding of the fest as well. Once our sponsors start promoting Revels on their networks the brand name of the fest increases.
We also divide the fest into multiple small categories – including a category for the pens required for the fest. So if we get 2000 pens from a sponsor in return for the branding we do for them, this provides us with cost cutting. . The tactics that we use are very company specific, so we try to find a commonality between what they want and what we want.

Do you think the sponsorship department is not being credited enough?
Honestly speaking, it’s a very thankless job. In Sponsorship, you could make 100s of phone calls, but until you get the money there’s nothing to show for it. Nobody is going to appreciate just the effort. There’s luck and many other factors involved here, and getting money from a company is not an easy task. Until January 15th, about two and a half months of work later, the total sponsorship amount was zero. Then from Jan 15th to Feb 15th, we had 8 deals with our sponsors.

Timeliness is also another important factor; if the cash starts flowing in too late, then the event will face problems. In total we called up around 1500 potential sponsors, of which we managed to get 11 sponsors. We have contacted companies from all over South India up till Delhi and our biggest sponsors this year are Maruti Suzuki Colours of Youth and Jio.


As said to Aishwarya Sanjay for MTTN

– Picture by Jassil Jammaluddin.

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