Building event programs for charities is a passion of Fifth Element Group. To help make differences in people's lives and capturing a moment in time, charitable events engages the community, but also does so much more for lives in need. The term 'If you build it, they will come', is a line from one of my favourite movies of all time - Field of Dreams. Does this hold up for event campaigns? We build playgrounds for guests to play with some of the most over the top designs and concepts. Yes, people come, but money is also spent to reach high calibre of event standards for brands who want and need to sell products and services.
What if you are building programs for foundations like Baycrest, Bloorview Rehabilitation Hospital or Ronald McDonald House Charities? You can't just build a lavish experience spared no expense. In fact, each dollar can literally save a life. So what should you do to reach maximum effectiveness? What has to happen to reach a memorable experience without taking money away from those who need it most? Just like any other client, charities expect the highest quality service with the understanding that certain procedures have to shift in order to save costs. Yes, we give special costing and decreased management fees, but more comes into play in order to pull off memorable/valuable programs that will initiate donations from the public and build continuous support down the road.
Enter sponsorship - Enter sponsor empowerment!
Sponsorship is one of the toughest business deals to pull off. In events, we sell a concept, a space or vision in hopes that top brands will throw money at it for visual recognition, tickets and ownership to elevate their community awareness. It helps partnerships between services and organizations that reach common goals and raise awareness for something that affects everyone - like cancer. As an example, scotiabank likes to sponsor charity marathons that raise money for cancer research. TD loves to invest in music through province wide festivals and programs. These banks own the title brand and provide money to the organization to pull off the event and help maintain costs to function. For large scale functions and festivals, this is great, but what about for smaller charities?
Sponsor Empowerment is a concept that Fifth Element Group created to engage sponsors to be a part of the event instead of just placing a title sponsorship and branding on marketing material. How can a sponsor be activated within the event so guests can associate a moment, an activity or even a friendship to said brand? In April of 2017, Fifth Element Group produced and created RECESS: A Playful Date for Families at Maple Leaf Gardens (Mattamy Centre) in Toronto. This program brought amazing brands and businesses that were built into the concept of the event. RECESS allowed parents to look back at their childhood through gaming, retro sports and music; children get to do the same through their own generation of incredible tangibles. Together, the family get to play with a huge amount of activities built by the sponsors themselves with the guidance and expertise of Fifth Element Group.
Imagine a 30' basketball court completely branded and built for Juicy Fruit and Mars Wrigley. How about a slot car race track by Enterprise Car Rental, McCafe by McDonalds and a photo slowmotion 'Cake in the Face' activation by McCain Deep & Delicious. These are the types of engagements we were able to build through sponsorship empowerment. Over 26 activities were built at Recess from a retro arcade with Cineplex to a gaming station by Sony PS4. All donated money to the charity, but through creative conversations and budgeting, sponsorship dollars were also utilized to build and execute activities so cost savings happened for the end client. Families played and associated their experience to these incredible sponsors - THAT is Sponsorship Empowerment at its best!
Bringing sponsors together within the event concept and associating them with the vision itself, allows attendees to not only experience something special, but the end result is a much deeper appreciation and interest in these brands. It is our job to be as creative as possible as #Eventprofs, but it is even more important that our clients trust our judgement and expertise in formulating a plan to raise money for their foundation that saves lives. Year 1 for RECESS was a launching tool and was not expected to raise funds above the execution costs, but it happened! Money was raised and now, Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto has a program that can build and grow for years to come. It will help thousands of families who need a place to stay while their loved ones are in treatment for life threatening illness.