Non-profit organization and community event organizers need funds to promote their cause, and the every year, corporations spend millions of dollars on cause-related marketing and event sponsorships. Organizations that become good sponsorship partners realize that this is a business deal, not just a donation.
How do non-profits attract new sponsorships? How do they accurately show the benefits of such a partnership? And how do they retain those sponsorships in the years to come?
Attracting Sponsors for your Cause
1. Organize a board. Create a committee of motivated, hard working people that have a variety of skillsets. If you don’t have experience, find people that do who will be willing to help.
2. Prepare a Proposal. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate, complicated presentation but it should engage and appeal to your sponsor. Include the following elements:
- Your story: What was the founder’s inspiration to starting your organization? When & how did you start? And far have you come from your humble beginnings?
- Your purpose: Include your mission statement.
- Your target audience: Who does your organization focus on and provide the most benefit to?
- Your accomplishments: What has your organization successfully accomplished for your target audience? How much money has it raised? How many members or current partners do you have?
- Your demographics: Who is participating in your organization, attending your events and/or joining as members? If you can show alignment between your sponsor’s target audience and your participants, the company will be more motivated to get involved.
- Your advantages: What benefits do you bring to the table? And how can the partnership benefit your sponsor? Show market research to emphasize these advantages.
3. Establish your brand. Even a non-profit can create a well-established, recognizable brand. Through marketing materials, your website, your events and your social media presence show potential sponsors your dedication to the cause, your enthusiasm and your growing support. A record of trust, credibility and good taste in how you present your organization will go a long way to building partnerships on your esteemed reputation.
4. Establish your value. Remember, this is not just a donation but a marketing tool for the sponsor company. If sponsors realize your influence and ability to generate a crowd, they will be more likely to want to align themselves with your brand and financially support your efforts.
5. Ask for help. It is not easy to solicit donations, financial or otherwise, but you will have to make the first step in an organized, well-thought out way. First, give the company options by providing levels of sponsorship with ranges of financial support. In turn, show them exactly what they will receive for each specific level of support. Be conservative in the price ranges of your lower levels of sponsorship, so even small business owners can take part.
6. Say what you do, do what you say. Be specific about the return on their investment. Put it in writing exactly how much marketing you will do for each level of sponsorship. Where will their logo be included depending on their level? Will you mention them in radio ads, include them on your website, event programs, banners, print ads, and/or email marketing? Will the sponsor be given an exhibitor table, a seat on the board, or a spotlight at an upcoming event? Provide increased publicity & great marketing opportunities to the higher levels of sponsorship to encourage larger participation.
7. Show tracked results. To retain your sponsors, show them the continued value of their support. Track meeting attendance, monthly/quarterly donation totals, the distribution of your financials, and any accolades, awards or good publicity you’ve received from the community. The transparency of your organizational activities will only generate more trust and excitement by your sponsors.
Corporate sponsorships are a way to make you strong and give you the resources you need, as well as add to your credibility. By advertising your sponsorships, you not only help your sponsors you let people know you are playing at a higher level in business. These partnerships will in turn attract more, starting a cycle of mutual support and giving. And that’s what it’s all about.