Ticketbud Tidbits Episode 13 - Eric Olsavsky of Pelotonia
Posted in Spotlights on May 24, 2018
Eric Olsavsky is the Director of Business Development at Pelotonia, a nonprofit organization. Pelotonia is a grassroots movement to end cancer, with 100% of all rider raised dollars going to cancer research at the Ohio State University Cancer Center and several other research centers. It is centered around a bike ride, with riders raising money and riding a certain amount of miles that they commit to. According to his profile on pelotonia.org, “Eric is responsible for identifying and cultivating corporations, corporate foundations, and private foundations in order to secure significant cancer research dollars, in addition to the funds needed to support Pelotonia’s annual operations budget and the overall fiscal stability of the organization.”
As you can imagine, nonprofits heavily rely on sponsors and funding to maintain their budget while also helping to pay employees - this make’s Eric’s role critical. In today’s episode of Ticketbud Tidbits, we focus on the sponsorship and fundraising aspect of nonprofits. You can listen to the episode here:
Finding Funding Partners and Sponsors
Of course, the most important part of Eric’s job is finding new partners and sponsors. He does this through a variety of methods. This is a heavily research-oriented model, and with a goal to acquire companies who are in the Ohio or central Ohio area. Eric subscribes to trade publications and is a part of organizations that have information on companies.
A critical part of getting a sponsor onboard is by aligning your nonprofit’s goals with your potential sponsor. If you’ve done research on the sponsor already, you should have a good idea of whether you can make something work. However, it’s important to not only just tell the story, but explain how or why your nonprofit will help further the story of the sponsor. Eric brings up that companies will sponsor riders that join in the bike ride.
These days, even philanthropic endeavors need to have some sort of marketing ROI to get some funding partners onboard. As an organizer, you should be equipped with demographic information, the number of participants, and also be prepared to have both physical and digital marketing assets available for them to partake in. On the digital side, you can have the number of website visitors, social followers, and backlinks to their side. On the physical side, this includes signs, giveaways, and also involvement from the company's employees.
When you’re working as a nonprofit, you should join local organizations that are involved in the nonprofit space. Eric says that by being part of these groups, he is able to learn and share best practices in fundraising.