6 Steps to Obtain Sponsors for Your Benefit Event

Wouldn’t you love to tell donors that every dollar raised at your event will go directly to fund the organization? This means having every dollar spent on the event covered by a sponsorship or in-kind donation. This is possible, regardless of the size of your organization.

Step 1: Make a List of Potential Sponsors

Don’t leave anyone off the list since you can always edit it later. Here are some places to get started:

Business that can’t donate an item for your auction

Many businesses are never asked to help because their business is not one that could donate an item appropriate for auction. However, any of these professionals could benefit from their logo going on your marketing materials. Consider:

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Dentists
  • Financial Planners
  • Bankers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Mortgage Companies

Local membership and social clubs

Especially at lower sponsorship tiers, some club members may band together to pitch in for a sponsorship. Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, and Lions Club are membership clubs to add to your list. Also consider any sports and social clubs with whom you have a connection.

People who can’t attend your event

Perhaps they are busy, out-of-town, or simply don’t want to come, but they love your cause. List your supporters who RSVP’d “no” who could be convinced to become a sponsor.

Step 2: Make a List of Things to Sponsor

Anything that can have a logo on it is ripe for sponsorship. Here are some things to sponsor:

  • Items for your auction or raffle
  • Various items at your golf event: holes, scorecards, cart signs, banners
  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Valet
  • Giveaways/Prizes
  • Matching Donation
  • Event Landing Page or App
  • Photo Booth
  • Signage
  • Swag
  • Email and other communications

You can bundle various items at a sponsorship tier or sell space on each item individually.

Step 3: Create a Professional Prospectus

Build a prospectus to describe the sponsorship opportunities. It is important to make your prospectus look professional, especially when approaching businesses. It will be representative in the manager’s mind of the kind of promotion they will receive. If you are targeting a large business for your title sponsor, consider a special prospectus that excludes the lower tier options.

Quantify the promotional reach of their sponsorship (e.g., how many households will receive the flyer, how many attendees, are the attendees target customers). Mention that the sponsorship is tax deductible, and list any additional benefits from sponsorship, such as complimentary tickets or entry into your golf event.

Step 4: Make the Ask

Now that you have a list of people to ask and your prospectus ready, it is time to make the ask. Where possible, make the ask in person and follow these tips:

Be Specific

When you speak with a potential sponsor, tell them exactly what sponsorship tier you think would be good for them and why. Be realistic – don’t ask the local bakery to be your $100k title sponsor. Choose a sponsorship option at the upper end of their price tier as a starting point.

Be Thorough

Don’t assume someone will say no – ask everyone on your list. You will be surprised at who says yes. You’ll also enjoy referrals to people and businesses you hadn’t considered.

Remove Barriers

Pre-fill any forms for potential sponsors. Never ask a sponsor to fill out paperwork. TravelPledge makes it easy to secure sponsorships for items in your auction.

Don’t Apologize

You are NOT imposing. You are honoring businesses and supporters by asking for their help. People want to help. They just need to know how.

Step 5: Go Above and Beyond

At a minimum, meet all of the commitments you made to sponsors regarding promotion. Respect, of course, any sponsors who wish to remain anonymous.

Where possible, exceed your commitments. Encourage attendees to patronize sponsoring businesses and thank them for supporting their cause. This reinforcement will solidify for the business that the sponsorship was valuable, and they will come back next year.

Step 6: Show Appreciation

Showing appreciation to sponsors is important to make sure they donate again next year. Ask the sponsor if they would like to attend the event. If so, get them a ticket. If running a golf scramble, provide a foursome for their business – their employees will appreciate the perk!

Additionally, thank your sponsors before, during and after your event. Phone calls and hand-written notes are preferred to emails.

Alex McDonald is the Director of Experiences for TravelPledge. He is passionate about helping non-profits exceed their auction goals.

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