Even though the new school year hasn't started yet, the Woodland High Wildcat Marching Band is already in full fundraising mode.
Last month, the Woodland Band Boosters Association began seeking local businesses to advertise in the Rockathon 2018 Sponsors Directory, the band program's biggest fundraiser of the year.
The directory will include ads from roughly 150 local businesses that want to show their support to the 240-member band through sponsorships.
"All proceeds from this fundraiser will directly support the Woodland High School band and will help cover expenses such as instrument purchases, uniforms and to help keep our student fees as low as possible," WBBA First Vice President Stephanie Germ said. "We seek to be an organization to include students of all levels and to provide a quality experience with opportunities to develop as advanced musicians and good citizens. We receive no annual funding from the school system for instrument repair or replacement or for funding growth in our program."
The fundraising campaign is successful every year due to the repeat supporters, according to Germ.
Repeating the program each year is beneficial because it allows the band boosters to "maintain predictable, renewable revenue" from year to year, she said.
And since the goal is to seek sponsorships instead of advertising, the boosters hope the businesses will appreciate the value of the band program to the community and will want to renew their support every year, she added.
Tax-deductible sponsorships, which are due by Oct. 31, are $310 for color and $250 for black and white for a full page, $200 for color and $150 for black and white for a half page, $140 for color and $100 for black and white for a one-third page and a minimum of $50 for a directory listing. Platinum sponsorship status is an additional $250, and gold status is an extra $100.
Rockathon sponsors also have the opportunity to go above and beyond in their support of the band by becoming a Woodland Band Fan, which means they make an additional donation to a specific student to help him or her raise the $2,000 needed for the once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York City in November to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The band boosters also are seeking corporate sponsorships that will directly benefit the New York trip.
Rockathon sponsorships brought in $30,000 last year, and the boosters are shooting for $35,000 this year, Germ said.
"While we were happy that the fundraiser was still our biggest, we always strive to do better than the previous year," she said, noting about $1,000 has been raised so far this year since the June launch.
The money raised from this year's sponsorships will go into the 2018-19 general operating budget, which primarily covers instruments, equipment, instruction, competition entry fees and expenses, transportation and additional instructional support for color guard and percussion, Germ said.
The 250 copies of the directory will be published in January — later than usual this year due to the Macy's parade trip — and distributed to the band families at the January booster meeting, and each family will deliver copies to its sponsors, Germ said.
The fundraiser began in 2009 when the booster club president, a former teacher at Walton High School in Marietta, suggested it. The Walton band and orchestra had been doing a similar program for many years, according to Germ.
Businesses that would like to be a Rockathon sponsor, Macy's corporate sponsor or a Woodland Band Fan or anyone in the community who is interested in supporting the band should contact Germ at email@example.com for more information.