Since developing a novel source of funding for Nixa Public Schools in 2010, Tricia Chapman has not only brought in revenue for the school district’s programs and buildings but also created a new marketing channel for Nixa businesses.
When the profit-sharing model she had created with the former owners of the Christian County Headliner News came to an end three years ago, she embraced a full-time role with Nixa Public Schools as its sponsorship coordinator.
“Most people in the community do not understand the reach a school district has from a business perspective,” Chapman says. “For example, students at Nixa High School spend over $14 million a year, so marketing to them would be a great business investment in addition to supporting the various programs in the high school.”
Since joining the district, sponsorship sales have risen fivefold to more than $300,000 a year. She says the increase has been achieved by finding new ways for sponsors to support the school’s programs and buildings.
“One of the newest ways we expanded our branding was through the various sponsorship levels that businesses could participate in at our new Eagle Stadium,” Chapman says.
Business owners can choose from multiple sponsorship levels, and competition for the top tiers has become somewhat fierce.
“One business, Air Services, has been contacted regularly and asked if they are wanting to or willing to give up their platinum sponsorship because the other businesses see the benefit to their spot,” she says.
Chapman says she’s developed a 30-page sponsorship packet for businesses to discover the ways they can be involved in supporting the school.
She says creating awareness and presenting data about Nixa and the school has been a game-changer.
Chapman also has made an effort to get away from the nickel-and-dime nature of most school fundraisers.
“We have set up methods for businesses to be able to give back in large sums versus being asked for small donations all year long,” she says, noting the latter could backfire.
“The last thing you want is to annoy your community.”
Chapman works with businesses to help them find sponsorships that best suit their target markets, whether it’s parents, community members or students. She also stresses the benefit to businesses to pay for sponsorships.
“When a business is asked to give money so their ad can be on the live broadcast of our football and basketball games so the students can buy needed equipment, that can be seen as a handout,” Chapman says. “When we ask if they would like to purchase advertising space on a live broadcast that reaches over 4,000 people each game, that becomes a business decision and a partnership is formed because it’s mutually beneficial to both parties.”
Chapman says the most satisfying aspect of her job is twofold.
“When I am able to help a business achieve their sales goals and they see a positive return on their investment, which allows their business to grow, and then they invest more into the district, which helps fund these various programs, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment because so many different people are seeing the benefits from our advertising program,” she says.
Once a week this time of year, roughly 150 men trade business suits and work attire for baseball uniforms – complete from caps to cleats – for the Grip N Rip Baseball league.