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5 Ways to Find Sponsorships for Nonprofit Events

5 Ways to Find Sponsorships for Nonprofit Events

Any nonprofit event has an aim, be it to fundraise and drive donations or to create connections within communities—this is why it's important to find an event sponsor that best reflects your mission. 

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay 

What is an Event Sponsor—And Why Are They Important?

A sponsor is someone (a person or organization) who supports your charity event by offering something for free. This can come via funds, products, services, or professional advice. No matter the size of your nonprofit organization, by choosing the right sponsor, you can not only increase your visibility but also add increased credibility. 

It can also incentivize attendance at your event for your attendees by adding value to your event. Sponsors can be crucial, as without the involvement of outside parties, your event may not have the resources it needs to run successfully (or at all). 

The relationship between the nonprofit and the sponsor should be mutually beneficial. By offering their support in whatever form, the nonprofit provides publicity and helps sponsors engage with the event attendees and boost brand awareness. 

Sponsorships can create prosperous business partnerships that lead to continued support for all future events in your business calendar. 

5 Ways to Find an Event Sponsor for Your Nonprofit Event

  1. Research and Identify

The first step in finding an event sponsor is researching the right sponsors for your nonprofit events. It’s important that your team communicates throughout this process to find the correct event sponsors, so tools such as virtual PBX for business can be a great way to ease this communication. 

Since these kinds of systems use an internet connection to make calls, your team members will be accessible from anywhere—a handy feature when it comes to planning and coordinating an event!

In theory, anyone can be an event sponsor; that said, it doesn't mean that they’ll be the right fit. For example, if you are a charity that fights for animal protection and plant-based living, a meat-based company would not be the best route for you in the eyes of your audience. 

Sponsors With a History of Sponsoring Nonprofits 

Look into which businesses or individuals have previously lent a hand in event sponsorship for organizations such as yours. This gives you a good idea of their values as a business and whether or not they are likely to sponsor your cause. It also points you towards other groups or people to approach if that specific sponsor is unable to help you.

Local Businesses

Consider the local businesses in the area you plan to hold your event. Smaller businesses, in particular, will often jump at the opportunity to show themselves as a business that cares for their community (which will likely be their target audience, too). 

Finding an event sponsor in a local business is a win-win for everyone involved: you receive the support you need to make your event the best it can be, and they get to mold their identity among the neighborhood as a business that cares. 

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay 

Aligning Missions

As touched upon above, finding a sponsor that correlates with what your nonprofit stands for speaks to your integrity as an organization. Event sponsors need to make sense for each event you hold, as it represents both you and the sponsor. 

Considering what connections you already have in the business world can be a smart way to determine who shares your values and would be willing to support you. Adding a post on LinkedIn, for example, could be a great way to promote your event early and encourage connections you already have to join the cause or share it to their page to help build your connections. 

  1. Don't wait until the last minute to find event sponsors

As a nonprofit, you will understand the time and effort it takes to plan an event better than anyone. A thought-out, cohesive event might take months to plan. This will also be the case for your proposed sponsors. 

For instance, if you were looking for a local restaurant or café to sponsor your event and provide catering services, it's unlikely they will manage a one-day turnaround without negatively impacting their business operations. At the heart of any nonprofit is the selfless drive to help a cause; this care and understanding should also translate to how you treat sponsors. 

It's best practice to outline what kind of sponsors you will be looking for early in the planning process and assess what kind of individual or business can provide the resources or agency you require. 

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay

Businesses that commonly sponsor charitable organizations likely have a set budget aside specifically for this cause. Contacting the ideal sponsor early (ideally 4–6 months before the event) ensures that you are in a prime position to receive their help when they have the resources to do so. It also gives them the time to get any necessary approvals in-house to make your sponsorship possible. 

Now comes initial communication. 

  1. Be honest but creative

It's highly unlikely that you are the only nonprofit organization reaching out for sponsorship. That's why nailing your first contact is so important. 

The Do's and Don'ts of Contacting Sponsors 

Do:
  • Make your mission clear: Include who you are, what cause you support, and how you envision your event to be. Highlight past events you have hosted; this can help persuade sponsors to help you by showing you are a credible charity. 

  • Tailor your message to each individual/company: Every offer won't appeal to every sponsor, so it's important to personalize them. Consider what the individual or organization stands for and find a way to relate this to your nonprofit's values. Look into their key demographics and highlight how offering their support will allow you to help them reach them. 

  • Visit in person where possible: This can be especially effective when communicating with individuals or small businesses in your local area. It shows your commitment to your event and the cause it supports. It also shows your consideration of the community.

 

  • Be creative: While bribery is never the way forward, finding creative ways beyond the standard email can be a good practice for standing out among others. Examples include a basket of branded items that represent your mission, some informational leaflets, or even a video highlighting what and who your event will support. 
Don't:
  • Bombard sponsors with information about your company: Communication should be focused on your mission and how you see them being a part of that, not just a generic email with cut-and-paste information that's readily available on your website or social media. 

  • Send a cookie-cutter email to every potential sponsor: Each communication should be creatively personalized as outlined above. It shows that you have picked the individual or organization for a reason, not just because you require funding. 

  • Pester your sponsor list: Organizations can be busy, and emails and letters can fall through the net. If they fail to reply the second or third time around, it's safe to assume they aren't the right sponsor for you. 

  1. Keep communication channels open

If sponsors give you monetary resources or free products to use as marketing material, there is a certain level of expectation. This includes accountability and clarity. 

Regular communication via email or even phone services online is a great way to do this. Using online resources such as these will give you greater flexibility and reach, minimizing operational costs for your organization and keeping communication easy for everyone. 

Also, consider setting out all the information they may need, including the date and location of the event, alongside a proposed schedule of the day allows them to feel involved in the process. 

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay

They may also have questions. This will especially be the case if sponsors have physical involvement in the event, whether it's developing a menu or building a goody bag. Being available to your sponsors shows your professionalism and gives them peace of mind. 

Lastly, keeping them informed on how exactly they will be involved is crucial to ensuring there is no fallout in the time leading up to the event. How you follow up before and after the event is also important, and there are various tools out there which can help to streamline this process. 

The more positive the sponsorship experience, the more likely they will work with you again for future events. 

  1. Celebrate sponsors at your event

If you are using event sponsors, it’s likely that your event wouldn't have been a success without them. It's important to highlight every individual or company who helped your event run smoothly. 

While the aim of your event might be to boost donations, one of the biggest benefits you stand to receive is the connections you foster in the process. 

Championing each sponsor, even if it's just by putting their brand logo on your program or in-person banner, is a great way to show that you value their contribution and let attendees know who were involved in the event fundraising. 

Free to use image soured from Pixabay

Be creative with how you celebrate sponsors; find moments that can be photographed and shared online. An event filter that can be used on Snapchat or Instagram could be a great way to do this, or you could have a photo opportunity with props that include the names or logos of your sponsors.

Of course, if you are using products provided, that's advertising without the need to over-embellish. The only crucial point is that your sponsors feel a part of your event, and that your attendees are aware of their involvement. 

Now you’re ready!

Following these five simple steps puts you in good stead to secure the right sponsors for your event and ensure that your nonprofit organization stands to reap the benefits! It’s important to remember that it is a mutually beneficial agreement; if you create a positive and promotional experience for your event sponsor, you never know where your business future will lead you!

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