5 Tips for Securing Special Event Sponsors

Most nonprofit events have one primary purpose—to raise money. We call them “fundraising events” for a reason!

The key to maximizing funds raised lies with business or corporate sponsorships. Sponsorships can be more lucrative than ticket sales, auctions, and even paddle raisers.

Why? The price point is relatively high (certainly higher than your ticket price) and you can sell as many as you like. Read on for 5 tips for prospecting, soliciting and securing sponsors for your next event.

1. Connections matter

When it comes to event sponsorships, event sponsorships begin and end in one place: connections. If you or someone at your organization knows the decision maker at the company, then you are more likely to hear “yes” - because of this personal relationship - than if you were cold calling local businesses.

2. Marketing trumps philanthropy

Sure, a business will care about its community and want to make a positive impact but they are generally more focused on marketing impact than on philanthropic impact.

If your event attendee demographics mirror a company’s target market audience, then this is a huge step in the right direction. A business may sponsor your event if they believe the folks in attendance are their potential customers because they want to connect with and promote their brand to this audience.

3. Engage a sponsorship committee

Your sponsorship committee doesn’t need to be formal, you don’t even have to call it a “committee.” The reason for creating this group is pure math—strength in numbers.

You will drum up more connections and potential sponsorship opportunities if you have five people sitting around a table flipping through their contacts and making lists of businesses they know, rather than just you, sitting alone at your desk.

4. Look at your current grant makers

We fundraisers sometimes get so caught up in segregating our donors into different buckets that we forget there can be crossover. And crossover between can make your job easier.

Consider Boeing, a large corporation. If Boeing has made several grants to your organization through the Boeing Foundation, could the local Boeing facility also be approached for event sponsorship? Absolutely!

Grant dollars and sponsorship dollars usually come from different areas of a company and different buckets of money (this is true even in smaller companies). And, if you are already receiving grants from a corporate foundation, you already have a relationship with that company, and a big leg up in pursuing sponsorship dollars as well.

5. Mine current individual donor lists

Look for crossover between individual donors and corporate or business prospects. Do any of your current donors appear to be running their own sizeable local business or be an executive at one?

This can happen for you—a person believes in your mission and contributes personally to your organization, AND they might also sponsor events in the name of their business to deepen their support while gaining recognition for the business.

And, it’s not unheard of that individuals will support an event in a sponsorship capacity – both to support your organization in a bigger way than simply buying a ticket and to enjoy the exposure and recognition that comes along with sponsorship support.

For ways to connect with your donors and set the stage for success during your event check out Fundraising Events – Engage, Thank and Raise More Money.

What strategies do you use for securing sponsorships? Please share your thoughts, tips, and advice in the Comments box below!

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