Community groups that seek funding from the Randolph County Convention & Visitors Bureau should submit requests soon for consideration by this fall. A second grant application deadline is set for early in 2014.
The new Direct Marketing Grants, with awards of up to $5,000, are designed by the Randolph County CVB to aid local businesses and organizations with the cost of direct advertising to support their promotions and/or events. Applicants will be required to match the grant amount at a rate of 50 percent. Brenda Pritt, executive director of the Randolph County CVB, and the CVB Board of Directors will evaluate the tourism economic impact of the applications, particularly in terms of bringing overnight guests to the county.
Applications should be submitted to Pritt via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or dropped off at the CVB office, 1302 N. Randolph Ave. in Elkins. Call 304-636-2780 for more details or an application.
"We are excited about this new way to assist local groups in promoting not only their events but our county and region," Michelle Depp, president of the Randolph CVB Board of Directors, said. "The state Division of Tourism has been very successful with a similar matching grant program, and we believe our local events and attractions will benefit from these advertising partnerships as well."
Any group is welcome to apply, although nonprofit event requests will be given a higher priority. Partnerships that encourage people to "Stay, Shop and Discover" are encouraged, including collaborations that include maps, trade shows, brochures, fliers, directories and signage.
"One of our primary goals - both as a CVB and with this program - is to bring in new dollars from outside our region," Depp noted. "Initiatives that are most likely to do this will receive priority for matching advertising funding."
All advertising that is part of the matching grant - including printed materials, website advertising, radio/television commercials, trade show pieces and banners - must include the Randolph County CVB logo and/or tagline. CVB staff will assist in review of materials in advance to ensure compliance, and grant funds will be disbursed only after proof of publication or broadcast.
Because of its status as a publicly funded entity, the Randolph County CVB has some limitations on what types of promotional efforts it can fund.
Examples of qualified outreach efforts include brochures, rack cards, fliers, newspaper ads, maps, website banner ads, billboards, radio and television commercials, trade shows and event banners. Postage may be part of the grant, but it may not exceed 10 percent of the total and mailing must be outside a 50-mile radius from Randolph County.
Items that do not qualify for the matching grant program include salaries, prizes, rentals, consumables and other expenses that are not considered direct advertising. Production and design for advertisements cannot be included in funding requests.
"We are proud of our history of funding local community events and look forward to continuing that tradition with this new program," Pritt said. "People are encouraged to contact our CVB staff or board members to ask questions and get assistance with applications. Our goal is to help people succeed, both with their applications and their events."
For more information, call 304-636-2780, email email@example.com or stop by the CVB office on 1302 N. Randolph Ave. in Elkins.