In the spirit of Cultural Tourism’s Passport DC Embassy Open House…I thought I would write how embassies can make great event partners. Embassies, as you may or may not know, have a lot to offer. Obviously, before you even approach an embassy there are some items to keep in mind.
First, make sure that your “House” is in order. What I mean is…make sure your website is professional and up to date. Have some information about your project or event, even if its a “Save the Date” post. Some information is better than no information. Make sure if you social media accounts, they are up to date and engaging. You obviously want to make a great first impression! Second, you want to make sure you are approaching them with a project, event, etc..that is relevant to them. Examples would include, a playwright born in their country, a play about their country, a filmmaker born in their country, or a film about their country.
After you have your “House” in order…You are wondering who should I contact at the embassy? Many embassies have “Cultural Attaches” and many do not. Some have “Public Information Officers” who handle cultural affairs. My recommendation is to inquire on who handles “cultural affairs.” Be straight and to the point and have an idea of what kind of support you are looking for! What kind of support can I ask for or have available? PROMOTIONAL SUPPORT. Many embassies have their own cultural listservs as well as social media accounts. Promotional support is the easiest way to get an embassy on board. Of course, make sure your project shines them in the best light!
ALCOHOL/IN-KIND SUPPORT. Many times embassies have left over alcohol from receptions and other events. At times, embassies have donate wines and beers from their countries. In some cases, embassies can even provide contacts to distributors of wines and beers from their countries. Don’t forget, you have to have an ABC license at the most venues you are serving said wines and beers. VENUE SPACE. Depending on how connected your project or event is to the embassy, they may offer their embassy as your venue space. As a side note, venue rentals are a revenue source for embassies…so if you are looking for them to sponsor your event space, again, make sure you have a good case for them doing so. While its in-kind support, it is still a cost for the embassy since they still have to pay for personnel such as security, etc.
FUNDING. In rare cases, an embassy can provide funding support. For example The Embassy of Spain has offered funding and provided cash support for very specific Spanish programs. The Israeli Embassy, for example, has paid the travel for some Israeli Filmmakers…and so on. With funding, your pitch has to be spot on! INFORMATION OR CONNECTION SUPPORT. Having an embassy make a connect for you is second to none. If you are running a film festival for example….they can make a connection to their countries’ film office. They can make connections to restaurants they work and so much more.
Embassies are always happy to support programming that relates to their country. Just remember to make sure you asking for support that is reasonable as well as making sure you provide a great first impression!