By Joe Smith

Joe Smith
There has been one major thing on my mind lately, and that happens to be how I will be paying for tour this year. Last year I was very fortunate and had my dad and a small sponsorship to pay for me, but this year I will be more out on my own with the payments. So this brings up a major point for me this season and that is to try and find sponsors. (Editor's note: Back in September, columnist Michael Boo also addressed the issue of sponsorships.)

Once you find where home is and get your contract, then it's probably time to look for sponsorships. Last year we were fortunate and had an alumnus of the corps come in to talk to us about raising money for dues through sponsorships, and he also told us how he raised his money. The two main ways I remember being told are:

Business sponsorships. This method usually entails sending letters or going up in person to talk to the manager/store owner. This is how I found my only sponsor for the 2003 season. The best way I found was to contact my local chamber of commerce and ask them for advice, and where to go to ask for the sponsorship. I also found that if you have a DVD copy of the corps' most recent show (or for that matter any show at all), the sponsors really do appreciate seeing it. Many people have never had the opportunity to see what it is that we work all summer for, and you may also make a new fan of the drum corps activity.

Hold a recital or performance. This I haven't tried, but I have been told that it works very well. The alumnus that talked to us about sponsorships did this and raised a good amount. I believe he mentioned having a recital at church, but there are various places that you can arrange to have a recital at. This involves a bit of time preparing several solo pieces but can pay off. Invite family and friends, and leave out a basket with the explanation of what it goes towards.

Usually a corps will provide the sponsorship forms needed for this when you receive your contract. The amount the sponsor donates should never matter. Like I have always said, "Money is money," and every little bit counts especially with the cost of tour these days.

After you come in contact with sponsors and receive help (and even if you don't get it), you should always send a thank you note or card. Mailing, e-mailing or calling your sponsors after camps or on tour would also be a great thing. I'm sure these sponsors would like to know where there money is going, and how much you appreciate it.

For those that are alums of corps or even just fans of the drum corps activity, this is a great way to show support to corps members. It shows them that you appreciate what they do (even if it only is just a couple of dollars).

Good luck to all that are either going back for a recall or are going to their first camp in these coming weeks!

"Semester finals make me Furioso!"