Below you will find a short, yet informative and helpful list of how you should properly (and successfully) go after corporate sponsorship’s for your big event. Whether you are putting on an annual conference for a nonprofit, or starting your very first “Health Fair”, here is a good guide to follow. We all know sponsorship’s allow an event to host many facets – simply because you would not be able to include beneficial aspects without that sponsor’s money.
Best Practices for Nonprofit Organization and Event/Festival Sponsorship Success:
1. Leadership clearly articulates the value proposition of the organization and its event, initiative, activity or cause.
2. Sponsorship operation is led by enthusiastic and innovative staff with experience in marketing and business development, especially in selling the intangible.
3. The organization has a clear process to engage new and current sponsors, build trusting and meaningful relationships, and creatively develop, fulfill and grow sponsorship opportunities that meet the nonprofit or event’s mission.
4. Sponsorship program is supported culturally by the organization – internally by its staff and board, and externally through its audiences – in words and actions.
5. Corporate sponsors contribute in positive, noticeable, and productive ways to the organization’s events, programs, initiatives or in general.
6. The organization’s event, festival, or sponsorship program is so popular that
sponsors call the organization to become involved.
7. Because the organization constantly innovates in response to the needs of its
audiences, donors, constituents and stakeholders, the sponsorship program
remains fresh and contemporary.
8. As the sponsorship liaison, the organization’s staff member is always operating in the present and 1 to 3 years ahead, anticipating the organization’s and sponsor’s needs and objectives and how to unite them creatively through
9. The nonprofit organization focuses on quality relationships and meaningful
partnerships, not on quantity and transactions.
10. The relationship between the organization and its sponsors deepens over time once the first agreement is signed.
These tips were taken from the Alabama Association of Nonprofit’s website. Written by Gail Bower.
If I could offer any additional advice it would be to “come as you are”. A sincere and honest approach is always the best. You should be a walking advocate for your group (if not, ask yourself why, really, are you involved?). Your sponsor will see this within you and your staff which will make them feel more comfortable and at home knowing their money is “going to the right place”.
In reference to #9, make sure you pick the right sponsor. Remember QUALITY. Make sure that you are meeting that sponsor’s mission for why they want to give money in the first place, and don’t just take it because it’s there. Most likely you will not get the grant again next year, and so long goes the idea of building a long and fruitful relationship. (#10)
Also, gather some new data and statistics to show your sponsor where his money will be going, why and how it’s useful. In this economy, you will probably not find someone who is “giving blindly”. They will appreciate not having to do this research themselves. This references #7 as you should not be lacking in new data if you are following this step.
Spend some time on your application, making it easy to understand and read. It is more professional to write in the third person, and spell out acronyms (don’t assume they will know what they stand for). Write in a tone that exudes confidence, as you are selling your nonprofit’s mission and vision.
Think about collaborating with other like-minded nonprofits in your area. It’s o.k. to step out of the box and contact another nonprofit that may be related to yours and consider a partnership with them. As your nonprofit is most likely not the only group this corporate sponsor donates to, they will appreciate seeing you working with another group that they potentially already sponsor. This will also increase your chances of getting a larger grant!
I hope you will utilize these lines of thinking when it comes time to secure your next grant. It could be the difference in a door opening and a door, well, closing. Thanks for reading.