As we enter spring event season, and as you plan the rest of your fundraising events for the year, it’s important to secure sponsorships to support your efforts. While you may have a few close partners you can count on for sponsorships, you will likely need to approach new potential sponsors to support your cause. You may be thinking, “Where do I begin? What will potential sponsors want to know? How can I secure their support now, and for the long term?” That’s where nonprofit event expert and Founder of The Sponsorship Catalyst, Mariah Monique comes in. Keep reading to learn more about four key steps Mariah says you need to take to secure sponsorships for your next event.
Build strong relationships
One of the most important aspects of securing event sponsorships is building strong relationships with potential sponsors. Take the time to research and learn about their values and interests. Researching sponsors in advance shows you have done your due diligence. In addition, it allows you to save time by identifying the right partners to pursue, so that you can strategically position your organization to secure funding without feeling overwhelmed.
When approaching potential sponsors, it is important to be authentic and personal. Share your passion and dedication to your purpose and explain why your event is important and valuable to both the community and for the sponsor. Do not be afraid to show your personality and sense of humor, but keep it professional. Remember, people support people, so make sure your communications and interactions reflect who you are as an organization and as individuals.
Create a solid proposal
Crafting a well-developed sponsorship proposal is key to capturing the attention of potential sponsors and getting them excited about supporting your purpose.
To make your proposal stand out, it is important to personalize it for each potential sponsor. Take the time to research each sponsor and understand what they value and how your event can align with their interests. Highlight the specific brand benefits that your event can offer and how it can help them achieve their own goals. Brand benefits can include mentioning their support in social media posts, including their logo on event materials, or even inviting them to participate in your event through breakout sessions or panels. Check out my free downloadable, “What to Offer Sponsors,” and my presentation, “What Sponsors Want and Why They Need You,” to learn about more brand benefits you can offer a sponsor.
Use creative and inspiring language and visuals to make your proposal memorable and engaging. You can do this by inserting photos or video links of your organization in action. Remember, your proposal is not just a document–it is an opportunity to connect with potential sponsors and showcase your organization’s values, purpose, and impact. So, have fun with it, be authentic, and let your passion shine through!
Practice good stewardship
At this point, you have secured the support of sponsors for your event–this is a huge accomplishment and a testament to your hard work and dedication to your cause! Practicing good stewardship to ensure that these partnerships continue to thrive beyond your event is vital to the longevity of the sponsoring relationship.
First and foremost, it is important to communicate regularly with your sponsors. Keep them in the loop on your progress, share updates on how their support is making a difference, and be responsive to any questions or concerns they may have. This will help build trust and strengthen your relationship with your sponsors.
Another way to practice good stewardship is to express your gratitude and appreciation for your sponsors. Take the time to thank them personally for their support, and recognize their contributions in any relevant materials or activities based on the sponsorship level they commit to.
Lastly, it is important to follow through with what you agreed upon with each sponsor. Sponsors will likely return if you fulfill the agreement made between the two of you.
By practicing good stewardship, you will create a community of supporters who are invested in your cause and committed to making a difference. So, as you move forward with your event planning, keep in mind the importance of practicing good stewardship with your sponsors. Together, you can make a real impact and create lasting change for your community. Learn more about practicing good stewardship in my presentation, Art of Sponsorships.
Celebrate your success
Finally, do not forget to celebrate your success! There are many moments that you can celebrate.
- Pressing send on the emails you have prepared to approach your sponsors.
- Securing a meeting and beginning a relationship with a potential sponsor.
- Getting a sponsor’s buy-in or interest in a particular sponsorship level.
- Receiving the notification that your sponsor said “Yes” to your request and receiving a check from them.
- Hosting a successful event.
Don’t let these moments pass by. Acknowledge them with your team through celebration. You can even share your success on social media and in your communications with your email subscribers. Celebrating your success will boost your confidence along the journey of seeking sponsors and help build momentum and excitement for your next event.
We hope you’re able to utilize these tips and strategies as you prepare for your next nonprofit event. By focusing on securing strong event sponsorships, you will ultimately raise awareness for your nonprofit’s purpose within your community, and gain a larger, long-term support system for your organization.
About the author:
Mariah Monique, MPH is the Founder and CEO of The Sponsorship Catalyst, where she and her team helps nonprofit organizations position themselves to secure event sponsors by packaging sellable event sponsorship opportunities. Mariah is a Sponsorship Strategy Educator and Consultant, sponsorship seeker, and a funder, so she has a tri-fold perspective to teaching nonprofit organizations how to secure sponsors. Additionally, she has reviewed and evaluated hundreds of sponsorship packages and pitches, made decisions for sponsorship fund allocation, and built brand activations. She knows what sponsors want.
Published: May 9, 2023