Throughout our careers, we have built and implemented many successful sponsorship programs and we make sponsorship a top priority with our clients. Sponsorships are vital to the success of a fundraising event and it’s not just about the money.
Why is sponsorship so important?
1. Sponsorships can cover the expenses which means all other monies raised goes directly back to the cause.
2. Sponsorships lead to new prospects, donors, volunteers and other sponsorships – it’s all about relationships. How? Cultivation and stewardship. Properly cultivating and stewarding any of your supporters will keep them engaged and feel apart of your organization’s success. When they are engaged and feel close to the organization it is likely they will engage their friends and family or a colleague from another like minded organization.
3. Sponsorship is another word for credibility. When a company invests in a cause and continues to do so, it shows other prospects and donors the cause is trustworthy, reliable and transparent.
What is the BIG secret to building and maintaining a successful sponsorship program?
The secret is: your ambassadors! We see healthy and growing sponsorship programs when an organization has enthusiastic board and committee involvement, team work and communication. Your organization can have a killer sponsorship package, but that alone won’t get you sponsorship dollars – you need a team of committed supporters to help spread awareness and make introductions.
If your organization is lacking board and committee sponsorship involvement, ask yourself these questions:
1. Do they understand their role?
2. Have they recently been engaged in prospecting or brainstorming exercises to help build the pipeline?
3. Do they have the training and tools they need to be successful?
Their Role. The board and committee MUST understand their role – to provide introductions or help leverage their contacts. If they don’t know, consider creating an overview of the needs for the organization and ways they can support.
Prospecting. Once their role has been clarified, invite them to take part in a prospecting session. This can include sharing your organization’s pipeline as well as a webbing exercise. The purpose of this is to reveal the hidden network of contacts and connections within your organization: “the people you know that you didn't know you knew.” This exercise will help build the pipeline and in turn, lead to more conversations.
Tools. Tools are more than a sponsorship package. It includes training and guidance. Knowledge of your organization, its goals, priorities and stakeholders are necessary for your ambassadors. Make sure they know why they are asking for financial support and the impact it will make on the community.
And of course, if you need sponsorship support to help recruit the right ambassadors, build your pipeline, create a killer sponsorship package and have someone keep you accountable through it all, you should call us. Sponsorship dollars are out there, let's find them together!