The Pros and Cons of Not Doing Inaugural Corporate Sponsorship

“And now, we see President Obama under the “AT&T Loves America” banner putting his hand on the Lincoln Bible for the swearing in”….


“Look at how Michelle’s Target-bought dress flows along as she dances in the Everybody Loves Raymond Neighborhood ball!”


“This SEIU Inaugural Parade is spectacular, Katie – have you ever seen such a crowd?”

This year – the incoming administration chose not to take money from corporations, unions or foreign nationals.  They also limited the individual contribution to $50K (instead of $250K).  At the same time, they have planned the most extensive set of events ever assembled for an inauguration.  Over a 6 day period, they will accommodate millions of people at at least 20 official inaugural events – the smallest of which will be 1,000 and the largest of which will be 4,000,000.  Oh – and did I mention that all of these will have been planned within 60 days? 

Thinking of the year it took to plan my relatively low key wedding with 145 peopl, what they’re striving to achieve makes my head pop. 

Many of these events will be free and open to the public, some have varying costs associated with them and some are going to be expensive.  I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re pretty upset that cheap/free tix aren’t more broadly available.  People have been upset about others being able to buy big packages in order to get tix to everything.  I totally get it.  The ideal would be that everything was broadly available and unbelievably accessible/inspiring and fun. 

The pro for not having corporate/union/foreign interests is a clean inauguration and no special interests. 

The con is that people saw the fundraising with eye-popping prices and were put off by it seeming to be for sale.  

If that sponsorship had happened, perhaps more would have been underwritten and people wouldn’t have had to see the inner workings of the fundraising.  Who knows if more or fewer tix would have been available. 

Plus – with money in hand from the outset, they would have had more time to be more planful before rolling out packages.  In this case, they needed money to make location deposits.  Therefore, they started the fundraising in earnest in November.

My take is that it’s great not having the corporate interests and that people need to decide (just like on some websites): are they willing to accept advertising to subsidize their experience? or are they willing to allow others to help pay for their experience with multiple tiers of seating? 

I would love people to weigh in with their thoughts on this!


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