By definition, a sponsor is a person or organization that provides funds for a project or activity carried out by another.
Why do I need sponsors?
Sponsors can add value to an event, by providing additional incentives that make your event more attractive and more memorable to attendees. Incentives can include, providing food or beverages, sponsoring a cover band to entertain your event participants, etc.
“Sponsors can also provide a marketing and promotional benefit,” according to Constant Contact, “if a local restaurant is providing food for your event, they should also advertise your event at their place of business.”
Whom can I get to sponsor my event?
Start with your own personal network of family and friends. Event try restaurants or places of business that you frequent and already have a relationship with.
Also, consider businesses whose targeted audience is similar to that of the organization you are fundraising for. For example, Nike is likely to sponsor a charity youth basketball tournament because they share a similar audience, youth in sports.
How do I secure a sponsor?
Getting a sponsor is no easy task and requires a great deal of patience and persistence.
Consider this 4 step process:
Step 1: Determine What’s in it for the sponsor?
Most businesses and organizations receive tons of solicitations for donations and sponsorship throughout the year, make sure what you are offering in exchange for their support stands out. Opportunities for a business to provide samples of their product at the event is a very attractive incentive for sponsorship. When determining your giving levels don’t be timid. Be firm and confident in what you are offering in exchange for their support.
Step 2: Make personal contact
Take the personal approach when seeking sponsors with face-to-face contact. You are more likely sell your passion for an event to a potential event sponsors better through face-to-face contact rather than through email.
Try visiting businesses during non-peak hours, so you're able to get the decision makers complete attention. Also, make sure you are reaching out early to potential sponsors. Consider starting your search for sponsorship at least 4-6 months before your event.
Step 3: Follow-up
Following up is the most crucial step in the sponsor solicitation process and shows your dedication to the event. Follow-up immediately after meeting with sponsors thanking them for their time and consideration. If you still have not received an answer on sponsorship within a month of your first meeting provide updates on how the attendees for the event are growing and ways that you are promoting the event. Stay positive and persistent!
Step 4: Post-event relationship building
Just because the event has ended, doesn’t mean the relationship stops. Share the results on how successful the event was, share photos of participants enjoying the services or product that the sponsor provided or funded. Send sponsors updates on how their support made an impact on your charity. Send holiday cards or attend their events. Continuing the relationship makes it easier for when you need sponsorship for your next event.