Many of our nonprofit events depend on strong partnerships with sponsors who can help us underwrite our costs and drive engagement from year to year.
The key to winning these valuable partnerships? Sponsorship packages with benefits that are actually compelling.
You want your sponsorship packages to benefit your organization, but they need to benefit your sponsors, too.
Here’s how to make them happen!
Know the Why Behind Your Nonprofit Event
Every nonprofit has an idea of the why behind each of its events—fewer of them are able to articulate it clearly. Take the time to outline the purpose of your event and how it will help your organization meet its goals.
Define objectives that speak directly to your mission. Outline what success will look like for this particular event.
Get comfortable talking about these objectives and your goals. You’ll want to communicate them throughout the sponsorship process.
Don’t Create Sponsorship Packages Without First Naming Your Numbers
To define fundraising goals at any level of your organization, you need to first determine your costs. Nowhere is this as critical as event planning.
If you skip this step or don’t give it the attention it deserves, you could easily end up with an event that costs you more money than it brings in.
Add up your expenses, including your administrative costs. Consider planning hours and manpower at the event itself. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’ll need to raise to cover your costs and actually bring in some funds for your organization. You can use this information to figure out what sponsorship levels you’ll offer.
Define Your Sponsorship Package Levels
Sponsorship levels—or tiers—are the amounts of money sponsors will have to give to receive certain benefits. (You’ll determine those in the next step!) To decide what levels of sponsorship you’ll offer, first, look at the dollar amount you'll need to raise.
Then consider the kinds of businesses you might reasonably expect to sign on as sponsors. Break the sponsorship possibilities down accordingly.
For example, if you need to raise $10,000 in sponsorships, maybe you’ll go after one $5,000 sponsor, one $2,500 sponsor, one $1,000 sponsor, and three $500 sponsors.
Outline Your Sponsor Benefits
Sponsor benefits are the “perks” sponsors receive for donating money to your event. These benefits will vary by sponsorship level. They generally build upon each other from lower tiers to higher ones.
It's important to consider where potential sponsors' interests align with yours. Where do your target markets overlap, for example? How will partnering for your event be worth it to the sponsor?
You can amplify potential return on investment by offering benefits like:
- Online promotion on social media, your website, and in marketing emails;
- Printed materials at your event, such as brochures or programs;
- Signage around the event. You can offer different sizes or placements based on sponsorship level;
- Table placements, where a sponsor will receive enough tickets to fill a whole table at your event;
- Access to a special event or backstage area; or
- Naming rights for any variety of projects.
Clearly communicate the benefits included with each sponsorship level, and be sure to follow through on the execution of each one!
Reaching Out to Sponsors
Don't reach out to sponsors without a clear understanding of your organization's needs and goals.
Identify potential sponsors who align with your mission and goals. Research their charitable giving history to see if they've supported similar causes in the past. Consider how their interests overlap with yours, and create a personalized pitch.
Ensure your sponsorship materials are professional and easy to read. Have them professionally designed, if possible. Avoid long, dense blocks of text; use white space liberally, and make sure your printed materials are easy to skim.
Be thorough in your follow-up communications, and be sure to express gratitude for any support you receive!
Building and nurturing relationships with potential sponsors takes time and effort, but it can help you secure critical funding for your organization's important work.