Thanks to an increase in interest around corporate social responsibility, sponsorships for nonprofit events are more attractive to businesses than ever before.
But just as important as communicating the value of your event to your community is making sure a potential sponsor can see what’s in it for them, too.
Here are four ways to personalize and perfect your nonprofit event sponsorship packages for a great response from your local business community!
It can be really difficult to get a large corporation to do more than donate a gift card to your nonprofit event – let alone select one of your predetermined event sponsorship packages. But your local business community is a different story.
Not only is it easier to get hold of someone with decision-making ability at a small local business, the incentives are clearer and more compelling for both of you. Local businesses can see lots of new potential customers in your nonprofit’s supporters, and you, of course, can find new supporters in their existing customer base.
The best way to make your sponsorship opportunity attractive to local businesses is to think about your own target audience and who’s most likely to be in attendance at your event. Then consider which businesses share that target audience – these will be your natural partners.
For example, if you’re a youth-serving organization, and your event is likely to be full of parents and other family members, then it would be more attractive for a local family restaurant, bookstore, or toy shop to sponsor your event, too.
Communicate this overlap clearly in your pitch and highlight the value sponsoring your event will bring to each and every business.
What are you offering your sponsors in return for their contribution? You want to make sure the opportunities you outline have a clear value-add. Common options include tickets and tables, branding opportunities and logo placement on signage or in event materials, mentions on social media or in press releases, spoken acknowledgements in event presentations – even naming rights.
But instead of pulling a general list off the internet, think about your unique event and the opportunities it presents for the businesses you’re trying to attract. Will you have a popular speaker, whom lots of folks will take photos or video of? Maybe offering the chance to put a logo on the podium is an appealing sponsor opportunity!
No matter who you’re approaching about sponsorship opportunities for your event, do your best to identify the right contact before you call, send your materials to, or visit a business.
If you can identify a personal connection via a board or staff member, volunteer, donor, or other friend of your organization, that’s the best place to start. But if not, you’ll ideally want to identify someone with decision-making capability. Approaching them directly will ensure the details and importance of your event aren’t lost in translation as your request is sent up the chain of command.
It’s rare that you’ll secure a sponsorship after the first ask, especially if that initial request isn’t done in person. So make sure you’re following up, and ideally in a manner different from the first approach.
If you sent a letter, make a phone call. If you made a visit, shoot your prospect a quick email. Make getting in touch with you as easy as possible for them. And don’t forget to thank them for their time.
For sponsors you’ve secured, avoid crickets once you get the money! Keep in touch by sharing updates and exciting news with your sponsors in the lead-up to the event.
Afterward, a thank-you letter that outlines their contribution and all of the good your event did will make them eager to partner with you again in the future.
Seeking nonprofit event sponsorships can be nerve wracking, but it can also be a fun process of connecting with local business leaders. Even if they don’t end up sponsoring your event, you’ve laid the groundwork for a future relationship.
Be sure to document your event, and share, share, share. You want everyone to see how successful it was – both current and would-be future sponsors!
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