Selling Ads or
Getting a Sponsor
If your corps hosts drum corps shows, more than anything, they have program books. Inside these programs, there are advertisements. Some advertisements are from local companies, some may be from family and friends. Ask your corps if they sell ads, and if the money that you sell will go towards your dues.
If they do, then keep reading!!!
You are now a salesperson. You must look, act, speak and perform as a salesperson. You are not just selling ads, you are financing your career with a corps. It is possible that 100% of the money you bring in goes directly towards your dues. (check with your corps to see if this is true)
How to do it: Dress neatly before you go out to sell ads; perhaps you could wear a corps jacket, or even an old HS Band jacket. DON'T DRESS LIKE A BUM LOOKING FOR A HANDOUT! Before you go, be sure that you have any and all documents to show what a drum corps is, and what it is you are asking for. Ask to speak to the manager, supervisor or person in charge. Have your "spiel" planned out (practice at home). Speak clearly and directly to the person. PERFORM. Act confidently and be prepared to answer any questions about the corps; what you do, where you're from, etc. Don't look at the floor and mumble. Tell them the corps sponsors drum corps contests in the summer and their advertisement will appear each time before a few thousand people. (would be good to have a copy of previous ads from a program. Show personal well-wishes and corporate well wishes). If they have any questions you cannot answer, have them call the number to your corps. If the supervisor is not there, ask to make an appointment or leave a sheet with statistics about your corps and ask that the supervisor call you (leave your number). If you do not hear back from their supervisor, call them in a day or two. The ads should be self-explanatory. If the manager says they will consider it, tell them that you can come by to pick it up if they decide to take an ad. Or, they can mail it to the corps (produce the corps' address). MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR NAME ON EVERYTHING SO IF THE CORPS RECEIVE IT BY MAIL, THEY KNOW WHO SOLD THE AD AND YOU WILL RECEIVE CREDIT FOR IT.
Let them know a bit about your corps. (would be good to provide a pamphlet about the corps) Tell them how many trucks, buses, cars/vans, and merchandise vehicles travel with the corps. Tell them approximately how you had to audition and compete against hundreds of other potential marchers. Tell them how many marching members are with the corps, how many instructional staff and support staff is with the corps. Tell them how many shows the corps plans on competing in, and how far the corps plans to travel. Tell them how many hours you will work, highlight a typical practice day. Tell them how the corps sleeps, where they sleep.
Explain that with their assistance, they will help cover the cost of providing you with more than 250 meals. They will help you and the corps travel approximately 15,000 miles across the country. Though you will be sleeping on the bus between contest sites, the corps is a 24-hour operation. You will be receiving professional instruction. The expert staff includes some of the best music and movement educators from around the world. You will be gaining real-world life skills that aren't taught in any college or university. Dedication, Discipline and Teamwork are all required for success on the field, but more importantly, the Corps instills in each marching member a confidence, quality of character and strong work ethic that employers value and seek.
Who to sell ads to: People you work with, companies you work for, parents, relatives, groups of friends, your fraternity, your sorority, the bank, small stores in large malls, music stores, car dealers, liquor stores, restaurants, travel agencies, hotels, banks, gas stations, etc.
Where not to sell ads: Airlines, large multi-national companies, large stores in malls, corps staff, other drum corps or
color guards (unless you get cash).
In-towners: You're looking to promote the advertiser.
Out-of-towners: You're looking for support and to promote the advertisers.
REMEMBER: The money you may save by selling ads may be your own!!!
If you are interested in sponsoring a young man or woman's season with a drum and bugle corps, either in full or part, please contact a corps' secretary for a complete description of the process. Many talented young men and women are unable to participate in the drum corps experience with drum corps due to their inability to meet the financial obligations.
Drum and bugle corps has become an expensive proposition when you consider the cost of operating a rolling stock of four/five coach busses, two tractor trailers (food/equipment), a souvenir vehicle and trailer, plus a station wagon and a van for mobility while on the road. Add to that the cost of horn and percussion and color guard equipment, plus the cost of feeding a small, voracious army, and you can see why they need help.
A sponsorship for a member can be a full or partial sponsorship. A full sponsorship is the corps full corps fee, and a partial sponsorship is whatever you are willing to donate.
Each corps has their own way in sponsoring someone. Most corps are Not-for-profit organizations and you can claim your donation as a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. You can support some by joining their "friends of X corps".
Fun facts of a typical day for a corps member
10:00am Sectional & Visual Rehearsal (brass, percussion, guard usually separately)
1:30pm Ensemble rehearsal with full corps
4:30pm Full show run-through
5:00pm Dinner, shower, pack up gear, load buses, shine shoes & instruments, and get in uniform
7:00pm Leave for a show
7:30pm Warm-up at contest site
9:30pm Perform, finale and possible victory concert
11:00pm Relax, eat snack, load trucks & buses and travel to next city
2a-8:00am Arrive at school, unload buses, sleep
Performance & Rehearsal
The corps' 154 marching members will each spend nearly 1000 hours in rehearsal for an incredible 135,000 cumulative hours for the 10.5 minutes (average) performance. The entire corps spends slightly more than 70 hours learning and rehearsing each minute of the show.
The average corps performs approximately 40 times during the season for a total of seven hours of actual performance time.
Most corps travel with a cooking staff of six and a semi-trailer converted into a self-contained kitchen, complete with a stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator and walk-in freezer.
Records show that 48,500 meals were served to 1 corps and staff in 2001. Each corps provides three to four meals a day. They do have some vegetarians in a corps and they make provisions for them.
A corps travels on its stomach. Statistics show that a typical corps consumed the following items during 1 season:
Cereal 990 Bags
Ground beef 4,500 lbs
Hot dogs/corndogs 6,800
Assorted Sandwiches 8,200
Chicken breasts 4,300 pieces
Carrots & Celery 650lbs
Bread 25 loaves per day
Milk 920 gallons
Gatorade 7,760 gallons
Fruit Drinks 15,800 gallons
Coffee 5,600 cups
Peanut Butter & Jelly: Available for every meal
Paper products make up a substantial portion of food budget. On average, a corps uses the following:
Paper cups 85,000
Paper plates 42,000
Plastic Dinnerware 125,000
Think your school can host a drum corps for a day or more?
Check out some of the requirements some need here.
Get out there and start selling! GOOD LUCK
(thank you to The Cavaliers for a generalized copy of their rehearsal schedule, summer statistics, and ad selling sheet)
updated: 20 Apr 21