As we are coming up to the holiday season, many charities will be looking to hold fundraising events, anything from a Santa Dash to a full-scale Ball.
Obtaining sponsors for events ensures that the charity maximises its fundraising potential whilst also benefitting from increased awareness, engagement and attendance by tapping into the sponsor’s own networks.
Many companies are also considering their social responsibility and actively looking at where they can get involved.
This benefits the companies as well as they are able to engage both employees and customers with their values and charitable credentials. Sponsorship of events is therefore a win win and you would think that this would mean that it is a fairly easy way of raising funds. This is not always the case but there are ways of making it more effective.
Consider local connections
When looking for sponsors, an easy place to start is looking at connections the charity already has. The charity will have volunteers, members, suppliers, and key donors, all of whom may have links to businesses or know someone who does.
Sponsorship by a local business will build both the reputation and engagement with the local community for both the charity and the company.
Crossover with mission/values
Part of engaging with sponsors, and indeed any donors is ensuring the charity’s values and objectives are clearly communicated across all platforms available. Companies will then be able to identify charities that align with their values and be able to select sponsorships more effectively.
Consider how you can leverage your website or social media to benefit sponsors. This could be by allowing links on the website or a social media takeover. Access to the charity contacts and audience is a key benefit of any sponsorship and is a valuable resource.
Offer alternative sponsorship packages
Different companies will have different budgets for sponsorships so you need to have sponsorship packages that cover all options. It will also not always follow that larger companies will go for the highest level of sponsorship.
They may sponsor a larger number of events whereas a smaller company may be looking for a local charity to sponsor to a higher level in order to maximise engagement with the local community.
Having a clear outline of the cost of different sponsorship levels and what that package includes will make it easier for sponsors to reach an agreement on the sponsorship.
The charity could have set package levels or a range of options which can be included so that the sponsor can pick and mix what works for them.
In addition to offering a range of sponsorship packages, charities should tailor the sponsorship offering to the company.
Consider how the sponsorship could complement the activity of the company, what are the target demographics and how is this reflected at the event. Most important is to effectively tell the story of the charity and what impact it has.
What to provide
Many sponsorships include the inclusion of company logos in programmes or on boards at the event but the charity can be as imaginative as it likes in terms of what can be sponsored.
Prizes, centrepieces, transport to the event, activities, and competitions can all be included. The more unusual, the more interesting the package will be to sponsors as it will result in comments and conversations at the event.
We have seen some really creative sponsorship opportunities used at events, from a florist providing the centre pieces that are then raffled off, to vouchers printed as part of the ticket, and goody bags provided by a community interest company that recycles upholstery fabric. Anything different will have more impact on both the charity and the company.