Its not easy finding supporters
I am involved in the new Chelsea Fringe Festival (www.chelseafringe.com) – which is all about taking gardening and garden design to a wider audience. As well as helping with the marketing piece for the event, I am focusing on one particular project which is called the ‘Bed Parade’ (www.bedparade.com). The idea is the garden world’s version of the ‘Elephant Parade’ or ‘Cow Parade’. Pop-up conceptually designed garden beds (just 1m x 2m) appear on the streets of London. Each bed is supported by a company or individual and nearly all the money (except a small budget to create the bed itself) goes to a homeless charity. Our charity partner is St Mungo’s. Homeless people will be involved in the creation of the beds which will be designed by leading and up-and-coming garden designers.
We’ve had a phenomenol response to the project. People really love the idea and the councils are very behind it and keen to give us prime sites to locate the beds. The big issue is finding supporters. Okay so I am not a sales person and the group of us working on this project aren’t either. We spend our days designing gardens – so what do we know? It’s a horrible job trying to find someone to support a charitable project. It is a matter of tapping up our own contacts and cold calling.
So with my marketing background, I thought a way in would be to target PR agencies dealing with client’s corporate social responsibility (CSR). Now a PR agency should always be aware of how they as well as their clients, come across and should be masters of communication. The nightmare is when someone rings up a client and they get a bad reception from the person who answers the phone (always an easy story win for a journo to go on a mystery shopper cold calling exercise). But a PR agency would never do that would it? I have just got off the phone to one and the guy who eventually answered the phone, asked me to ring back in 15 minutes because he was too ‘busy dealing with a client’. He did not know who I was from adam – I just said that I wanted to speak with someone who works on CSR PR. I could easily have been a potential client ringing up and with that response – he would have lost me in a heartbeat. Lucky for them, I am not a potential client so I will ring back. Watch this space! 🙂
Oh and if anyone knows someone who would be interested in supporting The Bed Parade or The Chelsea Fringe Festival, please DO get in contact. You will get an answer – promise!