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RFP Spotlight April 2012
It’s no secret that most Major League Baseball teams are moneymaking enterprises: ticket sales, TV rights, refreshments and merchandise sales all provide a steady source of income.

But the same can’t be said for not­for­profit baseball franchises competing in summer collegiate leagues, which serve as the training grounds for future MLB players. While those teams located in smaller cities across the country struggle to meet necessary costs, Connecticut’s own Danbury Westerners baseball team has found help through Viridian’s Residual Fundraising Program.

“Everyone affiliated with this team is a volunteer, and we all do it for the love of the game,” said Viridian Associate Paul Schaffer, president of the Danbury Westerners. “We recruit college players from across the country and they play a grueling 42­game, eight­week summer schedule in different cities throughout the New England region.”

Like numerous nonprofits nationwide, the Westerners have felt the financial pinch of the sputtering economy, and that’s what led Schaffer to the RFP.

“Viridian Partner Chris Catania reached out to us, as he was looking to expand his nonprofits network,” Schaffer explained. “We asked him to meet with several of our board members, and we listened to his presentation. In the end it sounded like a good deal for Viridian, for the consumers who enrolled and for the Danbury Westerners ball club, so we enrolled with Chris.”

Interest in the program has spread mostly by word of mouth through the Westerners’ family, friends and supporters, and the team is now enjoying monthly residual income to help keep its program going. The team already has more than 500 customers enrolled in the RFP, and expects that number will go higher as its season kicks off in early June.

The team keeps its RFP program visible at all home games, with Viridian brochures readily available on the table where team merchandise is for sale. In addition, the Westerners also promote the program at an annual welcoming breakfast.

“We put Viridian applications on all the tables at the breakfast,” Schaffer said. “In my opening remarks I tell everyone about Viridian, and explain that it’s worth five minutes of their time to look into the RFP, and how it benefits the consumer as well as the team. The team leaders who sold the attendees their breakfast tickets then follow up with them. We find that ‘personal touch’ to be very helpful.”

Schaffer is seeking to grow his own business via RFPs, reaching out to a college in Pennsylvania as well as other New England Collegiate Baseball League teams in Massachusetts, in anticipation of that state’s June launch. He’s also utilizing social media to raise the team’s profile, with revamped Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and plans to start a Twitter account this summer. Having seen firsthand how successful the RFP can be, he’s looking forward to taking it to the next level.

“We’ve been thrilled with our partnership with Viridian,” he said. “We’re always looking for ways to expand our relationship. Viridian has been a great partner and we look forward to working with them for years to come.”