Sponsorship Frequently Asked Questions
Q . Is my donation to the Carlinville Christmas Market Foundation tax-deductible?
A . Yes. We are a 501 c (3), non-profit organization.
Q . How much should I give? Is there a range? What have others donated?
A. There is no fixed amount for any one person, business, organization, or corporation. We hope that you will dig as deeply as you can, because a first-
class Christmas Market has a significant impact on the reputation and well being of our area. We have various levels designated as Benefactor, Angel,
Diamond, Crystal, Gold, Silver, and Friends. Each has its own special rewards and recognition.
Q. If the Christmas Market is such a boon to Carlinville, why doesn't the city council provide support?
A. They do. They typically donate $3,000 to $5,000 each year. Macoupin County also makes a contribution to the festival because of its economic impact on the county.
Q. Can't you get funding through Illinois tourism or other grants?
A. As we do every year, we have applied for grant money from the state and continue to seek out new grant opportunities.
Q. My business does not increase during Christmas Market weekend. Why should I support the festival? What do I get out of it?
A. It's true that the festival provides direct economic benefit to certain area businesses -- motels, restaurants, gas stations, clothing stores, gift shops,
and other retailers favored by Market visitors. Other businesses may not experience the same immediate increase in sales, but the indirect impact of
Christmas Market is just as important to them and to the community.
Q. What do you mean by "indirect" impact?
A. Christmas Market has been drawing 10,000 to 102,000 people to the Carlinville area during the first full weekend in December. Let's project that down the road:
• Visitors generate sizeable tax and other local revenues that benefit our entire town.
• Many visitors will return to our area at other times during the year to shop again; to visit the courthouse, Sears homes, and other attractions they missed during the festival; to play golf or fish or hunt; to check out Blackburn, or just to enjoy the serenity of small-town living.
• We have documented that some of them may be sufficiently impressed to want to live here; they'll come back to check out real estate values, schools, jobs, cultural activities, and safety.
• The vast majority of visitors have a wonderful time and are likely to tell others about it; informal, word-of-mouth publicity is a remarkably effective public relations tool.
• Carlinville should strive at all times to justify its status as the seat of Macoupin County, and nowhere else in this area -- perhaps not in all of Central Illinois -- is there a holiday festival on the same scale as the Christmas Market. In short, a continually successful Christmas Market helps to make Carlinville a more prosperous town, a more vibrant place to live, and a popular place to visit.
Q .I understand that the Foundation also tries to support local charities. How do you do that?
A . Christmas Market does not provide financial backing to area charities, but we do support them by offering free booth space, as
available, during Market weekend, by including them on our web site, and by recognizing their involvement in the festival through our publicity releases.
Q .How much of your income goes to Christmas Market employees?
A . None of it. We have no employees. All of our Foundation board members, committee members, and any others who assist in planning and organizing the festival are volunteers. That involvement and community spirit earned the Christmas Market (and Carlinville) a Governor's Home Town Award in 2007.
Q .Where exactly does the money go?
A . All of the money we receive from sponsors, individual donations, and grants goes toward that year's festival. Income from the festival itself goes back into the Christmas Market treasury and gets us started on the following year's event. Our biggest operating expense is tent rental and set-up; we also have to pay for equipment rental, propane for the heaters, entertainment, production of souvenir items, gas and electricity, certain city services, advertising, and promotional activities. We try to take full advantage of free publicity, barter opportunities, and donated time (volunteerism) and materials in order to keep cash outlay as low as possible.
Q .Will you charge $1 for admission again this year? Why not charge more, or maybe nothing at all?
A . We charge $1 per person only for people who want to enter the exhibitor tents. Visitors who just want to stroll the square and shop at Carlinville businesses pay nothing. The main reason we charge a tent admission is to determine how many visitors attend over the three-day weekend. That helps us plan for adequate space, goods, and traffic flow the next year. It also helps us to determine, using Illinois tourism formulas, the economic impact of the event on the local area. After years of charging nothing or merely $1, charging more might deter people from attending.
Q. Couldn't you raise some money by charging for parking?
A . We could, but we don't think that's visitor-friendly.
Q. You said there are recognition perks for sponsors. What if I want to remain anonymous?
A. We will certainly honor your request. Or, if you prefer, we could record your gift in the name or memory of a relative or friend.