Turning school sponsorships into great PR

As a social enterprise, one of Paperight’s main priorities has been to get essential educational materials to students who need it. The entire business model has been structured to cut out as many obstacles as possible to make this aim simple to implement.

paperight-sponsors-guide_20131113In this vein, we chose to actively search for under-resourced schools that we could arrange book sponsorships for. We also approached profitable businesses and copy shops themselves offering a means for them to fulfill their business CSR (corporate social responsibility) objectives.

We paired three schools with sponsors in 2013. The partnerships were:

  1. Silverstream Secondary School in Manenberg, sponsored by Minuteman Press Cape Town
  2. Imizamo Yethu High School in George, sponsored by Blitsdruk George
  3. Kwamakutha Comprehensive High School, sponsored by DES-ign (licenses), and ITEC and Transforming Minds & Futures (printing)

Yazeed did most of the leg work pulling these projects together and Nick initiated the Kwamakutha/DES-ign sponsorship.

All three sponsorships were arranged with the promise that Paperight would generate PR to match the value of the sponsor’s donation. In all three instances, we delivered on this promise.

Businesses were able to offer invaluable support to 2013’s matric classes that could give the students the confidence and means to achieve access to tertiary education. In the meantime, the sponsors would achieve their CSR objectives and receive great press for their input. All three sponsorships were arranged with the promise that Paperight would generate PR to match the value of the sponsor’s donation. In all three instances, we delivered on this promise. I put together press releases about the sponsorships and sent them off to carefully chosen media contacts, specifically community newspapers.

Community newspapers are particularly interested in stories like this, for obvious reasons, and are the best place for businesses to be seen helping the community around them. Of course, this PR has helped Paperight reach more potential customers too. So everybody wins!

In addition to the three school sponsorships, Yazeed also managed to build a strong relationship with Mr Cader Tregonning of Pelikan Park High School in Pelikan Park. Together, they arranged that Pelikan Park matric students could purchase a comprehensive pack of past matric exam papers from Minuteman Press in Cape Town. The pack would cover all of their essential subjects and they would simply have to order a copy to be printed and delivered in the first term of 2013. To see more about this story, head to the Paperight blog.

This official endorsement from a school has been an invaluable addition to our growing list of supporters and has helped us to show registered copy shops that it is possible to build a sustainable business relationship with local schools. Once a school starts using Paperight and sees the positive results in their pupils, the relationship will be set.

To preserve evidence of our work with the schools close to home, we sent Shaun (our awesome video intern) along with Yazeed to speak to the Silverstream Secondary School and Pelikan Park High School principals. Admittedly, the rest of the team didn’t know the remarkable nature of the relationships Yazeed had built and the following videos really brought home why an idea like Paperight needs to exist in the world. For all our flaws, we have definitely done something right.

The videos have been uploaded onto the Paperight YouTube channel, and linked to from the Paperight blog and Facebook page. They have also been released to media contacts as supporting evidence of what Paperight is about.

Pelikan Park High School

Silverstream Secondary School

In early 2014, we hoped to work with Pelikan Park again to initiate a Paperight Sponsored Brains programme. We aimed to sponsor two nominated matric students with all of their necessary materials for the year and name them as official Paperight ambassadors. They would keep us up to date on their studies and over 3 intervals (roughly May, September and a final update in January 2015) they would produce a piece of writing about how they are doing and what their concerns/interests are at that point. These updates would help us to generate content for news stories about what today’s matrics really need to thrive. In addition, we would also arrange 3 training sessions on subjects of the students’ choosing, for example, personal finances, applying to universities, writing a great CV, career choices etc.

However, this project was abandoned due to the large volume of work required to bring the #textbookrevolution to life.

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