Sponsorship are important, but how do we get them?

Fundraising events are a great opportunity to bring awareness to your organization and your cause. However organizing an event requires resources and costs to produce. Over the past few weeks of planning our charity event, I would have to say (and I think the class would agree) that there were so many more components in project management and event planning than we initially planned for. These components may be a small fraction of your event but detrimental to the entire project if neglected or not executed properly. For example, getting donations for prizes and sponsors may not be necessary for your event, however it is a great way to spread awareness and gain exposure for your event. Luckily our particular event did not require a significant amount of upfront cost to produce, however if we neglected to focus our efforts on soliciting sponsors and donations, the financial risk would impact all team members.

The Fundraising Authority, an online resource that helps non-profits fund work that matters. They published an article with helpful tips for securing donations and sponsors for your fundraising event. I thought these tips were very useful and hopefully can benefit others in their fundraising efforts.

  1. Utilize your network: Before going on a search for sponsors, talk to people you know whether it be coworkers, friends, and family members. You may be surprised to find out what connections others may have with businesses or local community members. Plus, the conversation may be easier to have with people you know.
  2. Do your research: Find out if there are businesses looking to sponsor an event. After all, there is a tax benefit for businesses since their sponsorship is considered a donation. Research what businesses nearby have sponsored other events in the past.
  3. Media sponsorships: Media sponsors are great partners to help spread the word for your event. Local newspaper and radio stations are always looking for stories to share about the community and it’s free advertisement.
  4. Outline detailed benefits: What will businesses get in return for sponsoring your event? Remember to provide them a list of benefits from sponsoring event. This can be free advertisement on your promotional materials, allowing the business to provide sampling of products, or on-site event promotion.
  5. Create customized pitches: One size does not always fit all. In order to persuade a potential sponsor, create a customized pitch that is personalized for that prospects brand or business goals.
  6. Manage sponsorship relationships: This should go without saying, be sure to treat your sponsors well. In the end, they are helping you and your charity. Keep those networks there in case for future events. Doing so may require designating a team member to manage the relationship to ensure obligations are met.
  7. Event re-cap: Lastly, send thank you notes! Provide a recap of the event, outlining the success that their sponsorship helped bring. Tying back to tip #6, providing a recap and showing gratitude will help maintain relationships for the future.

More details on ways to secure sponsors can be found at http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com/fundraising-events/securing-sponsors-for-your-event/



6 thoughts on “Sponsorship are important, but how do we get them?

  1. Jessica, this is an important article especially for fundraising events. From our group experience I found out that sponsorship would make the fundraising event more manageable and easy to handle, As companies are willing to contribute and match funds or resources to support a fundraising event or a not for profit organization, in order to receive a free advertisement and tax deduction that would reduce the company’s overall income. The main point is how to find the right sponsorship to your event and as you mentioned you need to share your project with coworker and friends that might assist you find the right connection to support your fundraising project.

  2. Jessica – this is a very interesting article & beneficial to review during our fundraising efforts. Our team has largely focused on obtaining donations from our personal and work networks. When I sent our email correspondence to my friends and family, I received some interesting replies. It was surprising to hear from a number of individuals who also felt personally connected to our cause. By engaging these individuals, we’ve created “sponsors” who then share our cause with their own networks. This can be a very powerful tool. Lastly, I completely agree that by beginning my fundraising efforts with family and friends, I became more comfortable with the process prior to expanding into my professional network and during our event. Additionally, I changed my approach when contacting my colleagues as the pitch that I used for family and friends seemed too casual for professional correspondence. It is reassuring that the article recommends these adjustments.

    This kind of fundraising effort is relatively new to me. Luckily others on my team were familiar with various free avenues for press releases and advertising. Free publicity is very appealing and you never know who you’ll reach.

    Lastly, I think the thank you note recommendation is the most important! It is common courtesy, plus you never know when you may need to reach out to these individuals again. You are more likely to get their help again if you’ve recognized their generosity. Online donation sites make this simple, each donor’s information is stored for reference.

  3. Jessica this is a great article on acquiring sponsorships for an event. I wish I would have read this before pursuing sponsors for our fundraising event, because we may have received more donations. Nonetheless, you list excellent tips that one should consider. From your list of seven, I feel that I did three of them. A week before our scheduled event I realized we still needed more sponsors for raffle prizes and appetizers. I was trying to avoid any upfront costs from our team so I requested a tax exempt letter from the charity. This letter together with our event flyer, and my “pitch” I was able to acquire almost 11 raffles prizes and all the food for our event. All of the sponsors were very generous when they knew what the cause was. Sometimes asking for a donation can be intimidating. However, after this experience I will be more open to it when asking for a good cause. Also, thank you for reminding me about Tip #7: Event re-cap (send thank you notes!). We will need to send them this week.

  4. As fundraising and seeking donations for giveaways were a huge aspect of our events success, I wish I had known about these resources before. Most of our donations came from walking into businesses and talking to managers or owners. As we were on such a time crunch, we did try to seek only family owned businesses and franchises. However, we did submit to receive donations from the Blackhawks, Wolves, Bears and Bulls. I’m sure these organizations are constantly getting requests to support the community and we ended up only having success with the Chicago Wolves Organization. As for the success of our event, each of my team members really leveraged our networks. I believe without this, we would not have gotten close to the success we achieved. Our group did get featured on Metromix radio by KissFM but this did not seem helpful in attracting people or donations. The amount of time we had to plan for such an event really limited our outreach but I strongly believe the single most important piece of advice is to leverage your networks. Thanks for the article!

  5. Hi Jessica,

    This is an excellent and tremendously important post! Thanks for sharing, and I really appreciate the outline for best approaches in actually securing sponsorships. It feels like the hardest part is posturing your entity with a compelling enough story to get those sponsorships to listen up. With so many positive initiatives and fundraising, I think it’s important to differentiate your cause while effectively broadcasting why the sponsorship should connect. To an extent, I think tenacity and the entrepreneurial spirit really come into play, as you may not get through to most sponsors, but even if you reach one (such as the Chicago Wolves), it can add significant value to your mission.

  6. Hi Jessica, I would have loved to get some corporate sponsorship for our project but unfortunately there was not time. I checked at my work about this and they advised that each charity must be approved through an HR committee and needs to be vetted and resented formally prior to them supporting the effort, and this usually occurs yearly. I was sad toy hear that but I also understand from a corporate point of view they need to be careful who they are supporting and attaching their name to as well as also choose charities they feel represents the company and their core values. If a match can be made, great! I’m just not so sure it is that easy or should be. It can be a very rewarding experience on both ends if done correctly.

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