Events and corporate sponsorship is a subject I rarely touch on my blog, but the reality is that most organizations are still highly dependent on events for a large portion of their fundraising revenue.
That said, I want to make sure you’re doing the best you can with event sponsorship, as it will make or break your event.
Event Sponsorships According to the Expert
Unlike me, Chris Baylis is an absolute expert in event sponsorship. And he treats his event sponsors just like major donors, which is why I decided to partner with him for this post.
In his words, Chris has written a “monster post” covering event sponsorship from A-Z (from pre- to post event, actually).
Chris talks about raising sponsorships in a “relationship based approach,” which is exactly the same as raising major gifts.
5 Ways Event Sponsorship is Like Raising Major Gifts
Borrowing from Chris’ expertise on this subject, here are five ways event sponsorship is just like raising major gifts.
1. Never lead with a sponsorship proposal.
Just like in major gifts, it’s important to get to know your potential sponsor in advance.
Begin with an advice visit. Ask what they want out of the sponsorship and the relationship with your organization. Yes, sponsorships come from people. It’s still about relationships.
2. Find the warm prospect.
Your chances of getting a sponsorship, and a major gift, increase exponentially if you have an existing relationship between someone at the sponsoring company and someone at your organization.
3. Spend more time thanking donors.
Just like in major gifts, retention in sponsorship fundraising is key. Make sure you get sponsors coming back year after year by thanking them properly.
4. Share the fulfilment report.
Show your sponsors that their money was put to good use. As Chris says, “Prove to your sponsors you did what you said you would.” Same thing with major gift donors – tell them how their gift was used.
5. Ask for a referral.
How do you find new sponsors (or major gift donors)? Ask your current donors for referrals or introductions to others they know.
More from Chris Baylis
Chris goes into more detail in his monster post: How to Get Sponsors for an Event: A Step By Step Guide. This post is well worth a look.
What’s easier for you — raising sponsorships or raising major gifts? Tell me about it in the comments.