Friday, July 30, 2010

Notes from the "Vendor Support Brainstorming" session

Here are some of my notes from yesterday's session.

Ask vendors to sponsor something that involves not just money. The Government Information Division website has a newsfeed that is sponsored by Lexis Nexis. A publisher (AMS) helps The DPAM division print a member directory.

Vendors could provide a speaker for an event, but there are political issues to work out with this.

Don't give out tax advice to the Vendors. Recommend that they talk to their lawyers and accountants to make sure they can write-off an in-kind donation. If they can get a tax break, provide the SLA Tax ID number to them. They might be able to get a tax break on their business travel expenses.

Recognition. They want it.

Get donations from companies who are not in the library or information field. A coffee place could donate gift certificates to be given away at a meeting. A gift basket could be given away. The people attending the WebEx do not recommend a raffle for legal reasons.

Create a "Top 10 list of reason" why a vendor should sponsor your division or chapter.

Create a spreadsheet that documents who in the division or chapter has good relationships with what vendors.

Do your homework on the needs and interests of the vendors, and the people who work for them. They are people, just like you. What is their budget cycle like?

The Xtreme Reference Conference was mentioned.

Offer various levels of sponsorship. Be creative with the naming of the levels, not just Gold, Silver, Bronze.

Vendors want to participate in conversations about products and services. They don't want to simply have a logo slapped up onto a website somewhere. Keep talking to the sponsoring vendors after the event is done.

Smaller vendors could consider cheaper table top booths at the SLA conference.

Sometimes, smaller vendors might be willing to sponsor something big, since they are looking for a way to get more name recognition.

What should the division/chapter do if the vendor doesn't send a check? There are a variety of methods one could use to communicate your needs and the ramifications for not cooperating.

After the fact -- Tell vendors the things that were written on the evaluation forms for their sessions. Ask the vendors what they thought were the positives and negatives of the session. Ask them what they would like to see in the future.

Put up the evaluation forms and the results up onto the unit wiki, such as this from DST (See the section concerning "Slides, Handouts, Evaluations" Need to login to the wiki.)

Ethics. When you ask for a donation from the vendor, you are a representative of SLA, not of your place of employment.

Give the vendor an SLA or a non-work related business card. SLA has business card templates. Provide SLA business cards to the leadership of the unit.

Other advice on fundraising can be found in this PDF document.

The WebEx session was sponsored by the IEEE.

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