How to run a mascot program

So you’ve been handed the mascot program and you aren’t exactly sure what to do. You’re now responsible for keeping the costume clean, staffing the costume, and scheduling appearances. Here is some basic advice:

  1. Learn how to take care of the costume: Read our entry on “how to clean a mascot costume“. If this doesn’t answer your questions, feel free to contact us for specific cleaning advice. It is a good idea to designate an area for the costume to be hung to air out after use. Make sure that anyone you give the costume to knows how to properly clean a costume. A fur costume can easily be destroyed if someone puts it in a dryer.
  2. Find a mascot performer: Review our “finding a mascot performer” entry. If you cannot find a consistent performer, you or other staff members may have to wear the costume. Make sure anyone who gets in the costume reads our “basic character development” entry. The less experienced performer you have the more attention you have to pay to them. Make sure they are comfortable in the costume, know to hydrate properly, and take proper breaks. We recommend 20-30 minutes on, 20 minutes off for outdoors, and 30-45 minutes on indoors with 20-30 minutes off for inexperienced performers. Heat sickness is a real concern for someone who does not yet know their limits. More experienced performers already know their comfort level.
  3. Provide a mascot escort: Make sure your mascot always has an escort to assist them. This person is the mascot’s eyes and ears, seeing things the performer cannot (small children below eye level, steps, etc.) and assure their safety in case of unruly fans or other emergencies. This person should have a radio or some means to get in touch with you in case of an emergency. An escort also helps the mascot manage his/her props, preps contestants, and distributes giveaway items.
  4. Set a schedule of fees: Establish the rate for your mascot at different types of events
    • Non profit
    • Sponsor events
    • Non sponsors
    • Private appearances (birthdays, deliveries, parades)
    • Community events (walk a thons, school/church festivals)
  5. Create an appearance request form: The form should ask for
    • Event Name, date, time requested
    • Name of organization, type of organization (business, non-profit, private party)
    • Name of person making request (phone #, e-mail)
    • Name of on site contact (phone #, e-mail)
    • Address of event
    • Description of event
    • Expectations of mascot at event
  6. Create an appearance confirmation form: This is the form you send out once the appearance is scheduled. It confirms the information provided on the request form, sets the appearance time and expectations, and informs the client:
    • If parking is an issue, please designate an assigned spot for the performer, preferably close to the event, as he/she will have a large bag to carry
    • You must provide a private place to for the performer to change. BATHROOMS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE since the performer may have to place parts of the costume on the floor while getting dressed and bathrooms are unsanitary.
    • If the crowd becomes unruly, or the performer fears for their safety, the appearance may be cancelled without refund.
    • Advertise the appearance as “between the hours of” to avoid disappointing people if the mascot has to take a break.
  7. Maintain a master calendar:  Use Outlook, Google, Yahoo, or other calendar programs to keep a master schedule online. Allow your performers access to the schedule so they can manage their appearances. Send out a weekly e-mail reminder/schedule of events to keep your performers in the know and avoid missed appearances.
  8. Create a payroll spreadsheet: Keep accurate records of appearances and hours to make sure your performers get paid properly. Advise your performers to keep track of their hours in case of an error.
  9. Create a mascot program budget: Calculate expenses for the program. Items to consider
    • Payroll for appearances and escorts
    • Costume maintenance (cleaning, supplies)
    • New/replacement costume pieces
    • Mascot promotional items (t-shirts, tattoos, autograph cards)
    • Props
    • Mileage/travel expenses
    • Training for performers
  10. Develop merchandise: Generate revenue with your mascot through sales of items such as dolls, t-shirts, hats, bobble heads, and more.
  11. Develop community outreach programs: Decide how you want to impact your local community. Create programs to be performed at schools that encourage students to read, get active, recycle and more. Other popular school shows are anti-bullying and test taking techniques. Many programs rewards students with ticket vouchers to attend a game.
  12. Work with sponsorship: Generate revenue through the sale of mascot related sponsorship  School programs, promotional items, and even an overall mascot sponsorship can bring in money for your organization. Read our “how to generate revenue with your mascot program” entry.
  13. Work with marketing: Use the mascot to get your marketing messages out. Social media, publicity stunts, community events, charitable visits, all are ways to promote your character and brand.

A mascot program entertainment, community outreach, marketing, and sales combined. A successful program depends on a lot of people, but mostly on its administrator. If you ever need additional advice, feel free to contact us at amazing-mascots.com

%d bloggers like this: