Yes, competing in pageants is NOT cheap. Now that we've stated the obvious, how do we get around the endless costs that surround a pageant?
For those of you asking: "what costs?" let me give you a brief rundown of the possibilities:
*attire for the weekend (rehearsals, dinners etc)
*travel (gas, airplane, hotel)
*hair and makeup supplies
...the list goes on and on! Not to mention, add the pageant coaching to that list - you have a panel of judges to impress...might as well get help from someone who has been on a panel before to give you the advice you need!
But, how can you minimize these costs? Find sponsors!
Well, answer me this...why would YOU sponsor someone for anything?
For the fun of it? Probably not. That takes money you don't have...
For the pretty picture in the program book with you? Eh, no.
You would sponsor someone if you got something in return...
So, the question becomes: what can I give these sponsors in return for sponsoring this ad for me? You have to convince them that this is a great investment for them...not just an expensive picture for a program book.
How do you appear as an investment/great value to them? Try these:
1. Make a physical proposal
Get to your computer and make a professional, yet fun, list of all of the possibilities that the potential sponsor has. You want to appear professional, so prepare a proposal sheet or brochure listing out the options for the potential sponsor. When you visit them, show them your "outline". In this outline, be very clear about what you can give them.
List all of the benefits...will you work as a model for them to increase their exposure and lessen the cost of them having to pay for a model? Will their "donation" be tax-deductible? Will you facebook or blog about them? List everything!
It would benefit you to list your expenses too...some people don't understand that pageants are expensive, so be honest. Tell them what you need and why you need it. They will appreciate the honesty...and in a way, you're getting ready to be a titleholder by doing this - you're already acting as an ambassador for the pageant, before the competition even begins! What a great thing to mention in interview... ;)
2. Dress to impress
When visiting the potential sponsor, dress in a business suit or business dress. Look serious if you want to be taken seriously. For those of you who already have some sort of title, wear your crown and sash/banner to draw their attention (and prove that you are the contestant you say you are). Note: you can also add to your "potential sponsor advantages" that they get a photo with you at their venue on the spot (when you receive the check) for the program book; what about mentioning that you will send the picture to the local newspaper for them, highlighting that their business is supporting local youth/a local titleholder? Sounds like a nice reward to me.
3. Conduct yourself professionally
Walk in with the greatest posture you've ever seen, the best grammar you've ever heard, and the eye contact to win (great practice for the judges later on at your pageant)! You have to act the part...that's half the battle!
And don't forget to "know your stuff"...know what title you're up for, know what system you are competing in etc.
4. Close the "deal"
Only you can close the deal. If you don't make the effort to follow up or to get that check in your hands, guess what...it won't get there. You must follow up and close the deal...or say goodbye to that sponsorship! Again, these potential sponsors won't just hand you the money...you have to prove you need and want it.
It takes work to make it happen...but you can indeed minimize or almost eliminate your pageant costs simply by asking for sponsors. It'll be more beneficial than you think!
With your success in mind,