Let me just say that since we are in an economic downturn/recession/bust/depression, money-saving or cash-raising ideas that before may have seemed tacky or ill-conceived now deserve another look.
That’s why I decided to try and raise money for an expensive home improvement–my new flagstone patio—by selling something I call Brick Sponsorships.
Here’s how I got the idea: Just before breaking ground on our new flagstone patio my family and I were at a local park when something I saw immediately struck me as an innovative albeit potentially controversial way to save some coin. The park’s developer had taken contributions from local families and businesses who in turn got, as a permanent, tangible representation of their gift: a brick engraved with their names.
These bricks, hundreds of them, formed the border around the play area and sent an overall message of community involvement and certainly gave the donors a nice warm feeling not to mention another way to lower their Adjusted Gross Incomes.
But at their essence the sponsored bricks helped the developers defray the cost of the park by a few thousand dollars.
Could this same approach be applied to private, residential projects such as my new patio? For the answer, let’s review an excerpt from a conversation with my neighbor Mac regarding the possibility of becoming a Charter Brick Sponsor for my patio:
Me: Mac, have I told you about a great new opportunity?
Mac: What’s that, Bob?
Me: Well, a limited number of our friends, neighbors and family have a special, once in a lifetime chance to see their legacies permanently and elegantly enshrined in a highly visible area while also helping beautify the neighborhood!
Mac: (Suspiciously.) Tell me more, Bob.
Me: Well, you know that Monica and I are planning a new flagstone patio out front, right?
Me: And you know how many people come by in a given month, from our friends and family, their kids, our kids’ friends, neighbors, my parents, Patti’s folks, Patti’s book club, the poker gang, the FedEx guy and too many door to door solicitors to count?
Me: Well, you and a select number of other individuals have a unique chance to have a beautiful, high–quality, U.S.-made brick with your name and message placed around the edge of our patio!
Me: Just think of how many people will see your name! Mac, this is the most unique way I’ve ever found to get your name out there in a high profile, quality fashion without the high costs usually associated with other marketing programs.
Me: You know the Greene’s a block over?
Mac: That new family from Columbus?
Me: Right! They’re in for three bricks! One for themselves, one for their kids and one from his parents in honor of their new house!
Mac: Is that so?
Me: They’re absolutely certain that their investment in these permanent, high quality pavers will result in more rapid awareness and acceptance in the neighborhood!
Mac: Bob, this sounds…expensive.
Me: Mac, you’d be surprised how affordable a brick sponsorship can be. But first let me tell you about our sponsorship levels:
Our most affordable package is Terra Cotta, which includes your name and message on one brick, plus a full color photo of your brick that you can proudly display in your home. This picture can easily increase your reach by 30% – 50% depending on the traffic through your home and specific room placement!
Our next option is Grande Terra Cotta, which gives you three bricks for the price of two. Think of what you can do with three bricks, Mac! You can honor different family members, resell this exclusive opportunity to your parents at a price you determine, or use two or even three bricks together to display an even longer message! Of course this options comes with a photo as well, in beautiful panoramic mode!
Our highest value option–and quickly becoming our most popular, is the Founder’s Club, which gives you the unbelievably distinctive opportunity to engrave your name and message directly onto a 2 foot square piece of flagstone! You can select either a perimeter slab or one towards the center of the patio, to maximize visibility. Which options sounds best to you, Mac?
Mac: Bob, I don’t know how I’d ever choose.
Me: Well, before you choose, there’s one more thing: If you order today I can guarantee your brick will be in place by the holidays–which guarantees an extra 30% viewership by virtue of the increased Christmas, Hannukah and New Year’s foot traffic on our patio!
Mac: Wow. I just have one question, Bob.
Mac: Have you taken your meds yet today?