Whether you are the executive director of a nonprofit organization or the chief executive officer of a business, knowing who needs your services or products is crucial. Once you’ve identified your target market, building and cultivating that relationship is the next step.
Many organizations and businesses turn to community events as a cost effective tool to not only meet prospective customers and clients (and build their databases), but also to make a “values” connection with the event cause. On Maryland’s mid-shore the Caroline Summerfest has served as an effective marketing tool for many businesses and organizations, so much so that for the past few years space has sold out several weeks before the event.
The Caroline County Habitat for Humanity chapter, now known as Tuckahoe Habitat for Humanity, has used the event as an effective “friend-raising” tool. In fact, in the past couple of years they met people at their booth who were later elected to their Board of Directors or who became contractors or volunteers for the organization.
“This will be my sixth Summerfest as executive director,” says Bill Clemens. “Initially we tried to use the event as a fundraiser, but what we found was it was a better venue for public relations and meeting and greeting folks. For us it is a very effective tool for building significant relationships,” he adds.
For CASA of Caroline County, the Caroline Summerfest provides a great backdrop for having conversations about volunteer opportunities. “We have used Summerfest as a place to provide information of how people can be advocates for the children,” says Brenda Walls, vice president of the Caroline CASA board of directors, and owner of the Denton and Ridgely Pharmacy. “Finding strong advocates for the children in our program is key,” she adds.
Community engagement is just as important for businesses. After all, if businesses want customers to invest in their efforts by purchasing a service or product, shouldn’t they demonstrate that they are investing in the community?
Small businesses and big businesses alike are making that vital commitment to the community through event sponsorship regardless of the size of their budgets. It is that belief in commitment that motivated new business owner and Summerfest’s newest corporate sponsor Vadim Stakeeff of The Gunfather at 225 Market Street in Denton’s Main Street district to support the event.
“Although this is my first business I have both experience in the corporate world and with Mom and Pop businesses. I know a little about both types of structures. I believe it is very important to get involved in the community. Denton is supporting me and I will continue to support Denton in any way I can,” he says. “The event will be great exposure for my business,” he adds.
Provident State Bank Assistant Vice President and Human Resources Manager Robyn Bell acknowledges that the exposure at Summerfest is great for business, but as a longstanding Summerfest sponsor she says that it is so much more. “As a well attended event that draws people from many counties it certainly has value as a marketing tool. However, we not only get our name out there, we get to support a successful, well-executed community event. We feel as though we have a partnership with an organization who is vested in the community, and that has value for us,” she says.
When you enjoy the Caroline Summerfest this year take note of the sponsors and nonprofits that participate and benefit from this popular community event. They may be taking in the event differently than the typical festivalgoer, but the residual value for their organization will probably last a lot longer than it takes to devour a funnel cake.
Caroline Summerfest will be held in historic downtown Denton on Friday, August 19, from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Saturday, August 20, from 12 to 9 p.m. The rain date for Saturday only is Sunday, August 21. This year’s theme is Jazzin’ Up the Streets, a New Orleans-inspired music celebration.
For a complete performance schedule, visit www.carolinesummerfest.com, call (410) 479-8120 or like their Facebook page at facebook.com/carolinesummerfest for festival updates.
Photo 1: Robyn Bell, Provident State Bank assistant vice president and Human Resources manager, gets a surprise visit from Erynn McFarland on clarinet and Brianna Nicols on saxophone. Both musicians are North Caroline High School band members who will be part of a special band performance at the opening of Caroline Summerfest on Friday, August 19.
Photo 2: Tuckahoe Habitat for Humanity will be running a special ReStore promotion at Caroline Summerfest. The event will serve as a marketing and cultivation tool for the nonprofit as it shows off the store at 701 Lincoln Street, which will be open to shoppers during Caroline Summerfest. To learn more, stop by the Tuckahoe Habitat booth at Caroline Summerfest, call (410) 479-9200, visit www.tuckahoehabitat.org or like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Tuckahoe-Habitat-for-Humanity.
Photo 3: Clarinetist Erynn McFarland and Saxophonist Brianna Nicols were seen “Jazzin’ Up the Streets” outside of The Gunfather, 225 Market Street, Denton, Caroline Summerfest’s newest sponsor. Both musicians are North Caroline High School band members who will be part of a special street performance showcase by area marching bands at the opening of Caroline Summerfest on Friday, August 19.