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  Cabell Midland Marching Knights    

              Band Boosters Program                                                        


Kathy Eckstam-Ames’ Personal List


Believe deeply in your charity; this way, you can speak with conviction.

 Know the charity’s basic needs; this way, you can speak specifically, with authority.

 Be genuine and act confidently; this way, you are believable.

 Use all of your senses.  Listen carefully to business owners; be observant; this way, you know how to at least start the conversation. 

 Anticipate their questions; take last year’s competition booklet AND your student!!!


Timing is crucial; e.g. don’t visit restaurant owners during meal times!

 Don’t assume who will give money and who will not; let them make the decision!


Ask for the sky, than graciously accept what they give…that being said, I haven’t asked a small business for a trailer ad…I tell them that we have them, though.

If they don’t give, find some way to thank/praise them; this way, bridges are built for the future. Also ask if there’s a better time of year to ask them to give.  By July, many have spent their annual giving amount for charity.

 Give them time to make a decision; giving them a month seems to be optimal!!

Put the ball into the business owner’s hands; get THEM to do work for you, for example have  a real estate broker ask all agents if they want to place an ad; then have the receptionist collect all checks and forms and give them to you.

Never stop asking...even after the competition, we can ask for donations for instruments, uniforms, bus transportation, etc.

 April and October are the biggest months for the biggest giving.  In April people need a tax deduction and in October people are in a pre-Christmas spirit and are still in possession of their money.

Be patient and persistent (follow-up is crucial!!), AND BOLD!

 Expect the unexpected!

 ***Write a PERSONAL thank you note to the owner/manager if you receive $***


By Kathy Eckstam-Ames


*You so generously gave $X to us last year.  May we count upon you again this year? (Note:  You can ask if they would donate at the next higher level.)

 *You donated X to the band, and for that we are very grateful.  May we show our appreciation by getting the word out about you?

 *This year we have a special competition program, celebrating WV’s 150th Anniversary; would you like to be a part of the celebration? (Note:  Next year, I’ll find something special about next year’s program to highlight.)

 *I saw that your business was a sponsor for X event; I was wondering if you would also sponsor our band via an ad…

 * (Name) told me that you were in the CMHS Marching Knights awhile ago.  You know what it costs to manage the band for a year and how hard the band members work.  Can we count on you to help current band students?

 *I see you’re having a grand opening/sale.  May we help you advertise?

 *My friend/my family have frequented your business.  We’d like to get the word out about you because we enjoyed ourselves when we were here/we believe in your product. 

 *I like to support small, local businesses.  May I help you get the word out about you?

 *I know you are a healthy supporter of the CMHS football team; the band is with the football team every game.  Would you consider giving a slice of your budget to the band?

 * Ask competitors of the sponsors who have purchased a trailer ad at the Knight level if they would like to consider such an ad as well?

 *I have no idea if you advertise in this manner/I don’t know if you are interested, so I thought I’d ask.  The worst you can do is say no to me.

 *(If I’ve never been to a place…) I’ve heard that you are the place to go for great X (steaks, Asian food, etc.)  May we help you get the word out about your business?

 *Other local businesses have contributed a total of $X; would you like to join them in supporting the band? (Note:  Everyone loves winners, and knowledge that others have given to us makes us more legitimate)

 *(For the manager of a business in a small community who promises a donation):  You have been so generous to give a donation to us; do you know of any other local businessmen who would be willing to contribute to our cause?

 *If they say $35 is too much (which no one yet has said), I will ask if they have $10…

 *(After using one of the above lines, I may say) I have earned $X so far for the band.  My goal is to obtain $X by next Tuesday’s band booster meeting.  I would like to surprise the boosters with a check from you AND get the word to them that you support the band…

 *(After using one of the above lines, I may say) 100% of your money goes directly to the band students and program.  I personally choose to give to organizations where 100% of my money directly benefits the students/program.

 *(A line I have not yet used but am prepared to use if the business owner is hesitant about giving to CMHS if HHS is physically closer to them):  I believe in the benefits of music education for ALL students.  If you wish, make out one check to CMHS band boosters and one to HHS band boosters and I will hand deliver the check to them, too.




*Don’t assume they will call you back!!! Find out WHEN you can follow-up with them.

*You told me to come back today and ask…

*I was wondering if you had made a decision yet…

*We have a band booster meeting tomorrow…

*I’m wrapping up visits for this week so I can approach new ones next week…




The  manager of a Knight Level sponsor came to CMHS to see trailers, and picked his spot; this year, he just said, “send me an invoice.”  No more conversation desired.  Not a hard sale.

If a small business says no at first, use small talk and they may invite you back next year.  Build bridges for future contact. 

 If a previous Knight Level sponsor wants to renew but asks for a discount for renewing, ask what was reasonable in their mind and negotiate from there (after confirming with Mr. James or the Board on what amount is acceptable). 




Locally owned businesses are easier to tap for money.  If the paperwork has to be sent to a regional or corporate office, the answer is usually NO.  Must have a month or so for latter paperwork to go through.



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