As a nonprofit looking to run a special event or big campaign, you can always benefit from having sponsors, and the way you go about seeking those sponsors can make all the difference.
Lining up a sponsor for a Giving Day can be especially worthwhile for your organization AND for the sponsor!
Giving Days inspire a collective goal amongst participating nonprofits to raise as much awareness and donations as possible for the day. A typical Giving Day generates hundreds of participating nonprofits and even more donors, which means increased exposure for everyone involved.
Cultivating Sponsors for a Giving Day:
1. Know Your Sponsors’ Cause Areas
Sponsorship is a form of marketing for most businesses. It is a way for a business or individual to put their name behind something they believe in or something that makes their community better. If you have a pre-existing relationship with a business or know of a business that regularly sponsors events, look to see if they have any trends in the types of organizations they support. If they have never sponsored an organization, this definitely should not stop you from asking!
Businesses aren’t the only people you can reach out to for sponsorship. You can also develop sponsorship/matching funds relationships with the following people:
- Board members
- Dedicated donors
- Other existing connections
2. Know When To Ask
Most corporations make their sponsorship decisions during the last quarter of the year, which makes it the perfect time to ask for end-of-year sponsorship. However, many will require a few months for decision making, so be sure to get them proposals 3-4 months in advance.
If asking a small business or individual, allow for around two months lead time. You want enough time to follow up if you do not get a response, and to get needed items such as logos from them if creating printed materials.
3. Know What You Have To Offer
Don’t just promise media coverage and recognition at an event. Try to change it up by offering something that is specific to your organization and finding ways to include their employees.
- Are you an animal shelter?
Maybe offer a dog walking/cat grooming day to the company and their families
- Are you a food pantry?
Maybe offer special goodie bags to clients – courtesy of the sponsoring individual or business
Does the company offer a match on employee giving? Try working that into the sponsorship specifics so the entire company can give and build on their philanthropic culture. Make it creative and make it good marketing!
4. Know Who To Ask
Whatever you do, try not to send sponsorship requests without naming a specific individual. Call and ask. Start with the marketing department as that is normally where most requests go, though it could be community affairs or public relations as well.
This is an opportunity to start building a relationship. Don’t just send an email, but rather try meeting face to face or scheduling a call to find out how they may be interested in giving.
5. Create An Engaging Sponsorship Proposal
Just like with all fundraising, you want to connect personally with the person who needs to say ‘yes’. Be sure to include:
· A story about how your organization changes lives
· Your mission statement as it describes what you do
· The benefits that you are offering sponsoring organizations
· Specific dollar amounts for the ask
Keep in mind that potential sponsors are everywhere and that you are not the only one asking. So plan creatively, leave plenty of time for follow up and most importantly, HAVE FUN!