Nalin was the cultural secretary DTU where he led a team of 300 students that raised 50 lakh in sponsorship for the college’s cultural fest. Currently, adviser to the cultural secretary, Nalin shares the secrets to raising funds and making a successful event.
What according to you is the role of a cultural secretary?
Well, the task can be broken down into 4 main components – Vision, planning different things, execution of those plans and team building. Taking decision in less time considering everybody’s emotions and making people happy, bringing everybody together, these are the roles of a cultural secretary. Also, you have to hold many events and take tough decisions around those events.
Last year you guys did a great fest, you roped in sponsorship worth 50 lakhs, that sounds like a cool achievement, can you share a bit more about that?
When I was given the responsibility of cultural secretary and made convener of Engifest 2016, the budget of this fest used to be about 18-19 lakhs, in 2015 we didn’t have great bands performing in the fest, but we always had a dream that we were going to make it big this time, we will do anything and everything that is required, I studied and researched about how we did this fest in the previous years and found a lot of loopholes. I presented a vision to our vice chancellor and explained that this time we will be starting 6 months prior to the event. I built a team according to that vision. We also started approaching corporate sponsorship 6 months prior to the event as well. We faced many challenges, and has tough time raising money, faced rejections but in the end we raised 50 lakh sponsorship, that was a happy moment for all of us.
So how did you guys go about it, cold calling, emails, door to door, what did you do?
We actually approached this thing in a different manner. We tapped into our untapped excellent alumni network, the results weren’t that great, but yes were able to raise some money and also received their participation.
Secondly we developed food city , this was never done before, we managed to get 40 stall across Delhi-NCR. One person even came from Hyderabad.
Cold calling wasn’t huge part of the plan, we also circulated a google form among 8 thousand students and tried to tap into the profession of their parents. We tried to reach out to parents with connection in 3 main sectors, PSUs, corporate and small startups. Majority of money raised came from startups the contacts for which came from our alumni networks.
Would you consider this one of your coolest achievements so far?
It was great, not the coolest. I mean, in the process of building the fest, I actually built myself. When you build a fest where you manage 50 lakhs in sponsorship, 300 people, have to take tough decisions and in the end when you see 15,000 people enjoying what you have built, that’s a great feeling. It was great to see our sweat turning into someone’s happiness.
What exactly was your main learning from this whole experience?
I guess understanding human behaviours was something important that I learned. We had to talk to people ranging from ministers to vs to administration to sweepers to faculty to students. You understand their emotions and needs and optimise everything accordingly. Building a team, understanding people and taking decisions according to that were the main learning.
If somebody else wants to replicate what you have done, in terms of raising sponsorship and everything, what tip would you give to them?
First plan out things, everybody is different, someone can do it better than me, someone worse. Everybody has a different capability and have their own unique advantages, tap into that. Plan out things, make a team, and build a team around that. Also start early so that you have actually time to execute.
One things that you guys differently was tapping into your alumni and parents network, is that something you would recommend others?
Yes definitely. Mostly people make brochures , cold call random contacts, that is not very effective. If you have a strong alumni network, try to research where these guys are now, what are they doing and you can tap into their emotional quotient , after all they were part of your college once, It’s always better to look into what resources you have internally and then approach outside people.’
Nalin has a great placement offer and plans to achieve many more cool things in life.