• Bonus Case Study With Solution

    Request Refusal: Pink Dragons Must Be Denied

    Headquartered in San Jose, California, Adobe Systems Incorporated prides itself on its commitment to employees who receive generous benefits and enjoy a supportive corporate culture. This core value may have contributed to the company's ranking among the top 50 of Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For. The software giant is also known for its community involvement and corporate social responsibility efforts. This is why, like most large companies, Adobe receives many requests for sponsorships of charity events and community projects. True to its innovative spirit, the software company has streamlined the application process by providing an online sponsorship request form at http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/sponsorship.html. Moreover, nonprofit organizations asking for funding can fill out a donation request form—also online.

    You work in Corporate Affairs/Community Relations at Adobe and periodically help decide which of the many nonprofits applying for sponsorships and donations will obtain support. However, not all nonprofits know to apply on Adobe's Web site. Just yesterday you received an e-mail from the Pink Dragons of San Diego, a dragon boat racing team of breast cancer survivors. Over the last ten years, the ancient Chinese sport of dragon boat racing has spread around the globe with regular competitions held not only in Asia but also in many Western countries.

    Dragon boat racing has gained huge popularity in Canada and the United States among breast cancer patients who seek to bond with fellow survivors, engage in healthy competition, and exercise regularly on the water. A dragon boat accommodates a maximum of 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat. A caller or drummer at the bow faces the paddlers, and a steersperson stands at the helm in the back. Synchronicity and solid technique are more important than brute strength, which is the main reason that even recreational paddlers find great joy in this fast-growing water sport.

    The newly formed survivor team in San Diego would like Adobe to sponsor a dragon boat festival taking place in a month, an event potentially drawing at least 20 survivor teams that would compete against each other. You know that your company is already funding several cancer charities and has a policy of sponsoring a wide array of causes. Naturally, no corporate giving program has infinite funds, nor can it green-light every request. Adobe steers clear of religious, political, and "pornographic" events. The company also refuses to support organizations that adopt unlawful discriminatory practices.

    You learned a great deal about dragon boat racing from the request. However, the team judging the sponsorship entries wants to ensure that each proposal reaches audiences affiliated with Adobe. Not surprisingly, the company wishes to receive some benefits from its sponsorships. But most of all, applicants must submit their requests at least six weeks before the event.

    Your Task. As a junior staff member in Corporate Affairs/Community Relations, write an e-mail to Pink Dragon captain Katrina Rosa (krosa@pinkdragons.org) refusing her initial request and explaining the Adobe sponsorship philosophy and submission rules. Don't forget to steer Katrina to the online questionnaire.

    Possible Solution

    To:          Katrina Rosa [krosa@pinkdragons.org]
    From:      Your Name [your e-mail address]
    Subject:   Your Request for Adobe Sponsorship

    Dear Katrina:

    We enjoyed learning about the fascinating sport of dragon boat racing and about the role it plays in the lives of many active breast cancer survivors. Your team is to be commended for its competitive spirit and positive attitude.

    Our company supports a variety of great causes, breast cancer among them. We receive requests for sponsorships daily; therefore, we have decided to streamline the application process by asking that proposals be submitted on our Web site (the link is listed below). Although we would like to accommodate every request, our sponsorship funds are finite. We must evaluate each organization's purpose, the audiences served by the sponsorship, and any potential benefits Adobe will receive from the sponsorship. To have enough time to assess the merit of each application, we require submissions at least six weeks before the event for which the sponsorship is being requested. Although the deadline for the upcoming dragon boat festival has already passed, we encourage you to apply again in the future and give us at least six weeks to respond before your event.

    Katrina, we wish your team much success and hope that the dragon boat festival in San Diego next month will be a hit with participants and spectators alike.

    Best regards,
    [Your name]
    [Your full contact information]

    Sponsorship request form:

    Source: Essentials of Business Communication, 9e, by Mary Ellen Guffey and Dana Loewy. Available in January, 2012, from Cengage Learning.