Guest Post by Teresa Funke
Back in the height of the recession, many of the schools I’d worked with could no longer afford my author visits. The teachers asked if I could create a sponsored program for my school visits in much the same way I had sought sponsors to provide them with classroom sets of my books. So I did. And it was easy.
I simply reached out to people whom I knew had a heart for kids and education, and if they happened to believe in preserving our country’s history, so much the better. My middle-grade series, The Home-Front Heroes, is based on true stories from World War II and my author visits and writing workshops incorporate that history along with writing instruction and inspiration.
Once I found the sponsors, I asked them to either provide a visit (and
books) outright to the schools on my waiting list or to offer matching funds to help cover the visit. At times, I was able to combine funding from more than one sponsor. In some cases, the teachers, principals, media specialists or PTO presidents were able to pull enough from their budgets to cover half of my fee and the matching dollars covered the rest. This allowed me to stretch the funding even further.
The program worked. In fact, it led to a longstanding relationship with our local Lions Club, which has now covered at least two schools for me every year for the past several years. It’s true that some of my sponsors were most interested in supporting the low-income schools, but not all. Some were kind enough to tell me to use the funding for whichever school requested it. In this way, I was able to reach diverse audiences.
I’ve pulled back on the sponsor program in the past year, partly because I changed my formatting and now offer a more unique and extensive all-day writer’s coaching program for schools and partly because my coaching business has taken off so much that I’m finding it harder to communicate effectively with sponsors.
But it’s simple for schools to approach an outside sponsor to fund one of my visits. Most sponsors expect very little in return. A thank you note signed by the kids, an “applause” notice in the city newspaper, an invitation to come and watch the author in action, a mention or small ad in the school newsletter. It’s a win-win-win. And that’s the way I like it.
Teresa R. Funke is an author, speaker, and nationwide writer’s coach. She has written six award-winning works of fiction, including her multi-cultural, middle-grade series, The Home-Front Heroes, based on true stories from World War II.
You can learn more about Teresa’s books and her work with schools at: http://www.teresafunke.com/author/teachers