Wondering how to secure a corporate sponsorship for your next event? Get started with these best practices

Fundraising events are built on three to four sources of revenue – ticket sales, donations, product sales (sometimes) and corporate sponsors. Events often open the door to corporate contributions that may not otherwise be directly available to a nonprofit. How do you crack the sponsorship code? Here are five winning ideas from our friends at Swell Fundraising.

1. Build / Understand Relationships    

Relationships matter when looking for a sponsorship. Begin your search by ascertaining who within your sphere of influence has the best relationship with the targeted corporate sponsor. Educate that person, ask him/her to arrange the meeting and if possible have them attend. Ultimately, your organization, event and staff will get the ask over the finish line, but the good relationship provides a critical head start.

  • If possible, have your point of contact invite the corporate sponsor to your event prior to the sponsorship ask
  • Check your ego. Otherwise fantastic nonprofit directors find it easy to assume that they have the relationships necessary to build the corporate sponsor program. It’s difficult to say this enough, but volunteers / peers of the corporate target carry more weight than paid staff of the nonprofit.

2. Listen

Why do corporate sponsors support events? (Yes, answer this to yourself.) How can you fill a need that the corporate sponsor faces? Ask about the company’s marketing initiatives and short term goals. You may hear that they want to grow their online subscribers or their Twitter following. Present your case, but consider offering a creative solution that fits the company’s specific needs.

3. Be Creative

Events offer numerous opportunities to creatively showcase a sponsor and to engage their employees(especially if good listening occurred early). Corporate social responsibility is an important measure to fulfill for many and your event / nonprofit can offer a unique opportunity to meet that goal. The better you can integrate a sponsor into your event program or experience the more valuable the sponsorship will be.

4. Be Different

In a world filled with event opportunities, find a way to make your event stand out from the crowd. A standard event package typically offers sponsors complimentary tickets, logo on the event website, event signage and perhaps recognition in the company blog, but you can identify and offer sponsors many other unique opportunities to access your event guests. Consider including in-person mini-events hosted by the sponsor or an email push to guests during the party providing a coupon. Event goers (especially young people) are looking for something different.

5. Be Dynamic

We say this ALL the time at Swell fundraising. Your event is the most visible sign of your organizational competence and culture. Given today’s rapidly evolving culture, your event should reflect the organization’s approach to change from one year to the next. A fundraising event is often the only experience a donor has with your nonprofit. Ensure your event stays fresh through slight adjustments each year. This encourages repeat attendance and projects your organization and its activities more dynamically.

What best practice has helped your organization in securing a sponsorship?

Share with our community in the comments below.

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