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Sponsorship top tips
The first question to ask yourself before seeking sponsorship for anything is simple:
What have I got that someone would be willing to pay for?
Exactly why would they want to pay for it? What audience do they want to engage? And how can I help them achieve this?
The four main types of funding
- Corporate - raising funds from the private sector
- Statutory funding (e.g. Government departments & schemes, UNDP, USAID, EU funding)
- Major donor (i.e. wealthy individuals)
- Trusts & Foundations
How to Approach a Potential Sponsor
It’s all in the preparation
Select potential sponsors whose business objectives fit with yours and identify areas of mutual interest. For example, are they looking to expand into markets you currently have strong networks in? Do you have expertise that they can use to achieve their objectives or boost their bottom line, and vice versa?
To be really successful, it’s worth researching the company’s public profile over the last few years. CEO speeches, reports and anything else on their public reputation can help you finesse your pitch. Also look out for new ad campaigns – they often preview company interest.
What are the Benefits?
Put Yourself in Their Shoes. Think about what the potential sponsor would find most appealing regarding the project and what you have to offer them. Tailor how you sell the benefits depending on what the potential sponsor is really interested in.
Some businesses – especially those in sectors that have suffered negative press in the last 12 to 18 months – will be interested in how they can boost their positive brand perception through being associated with GEW’s life-changing work. Others will be interested in using the regional, national or global reach as a platform for growing awareness around what they do.
Know Your Facts and Figures
Be clear about how much money and commitment you’re asking for and for how long.
Think about other facts they may want to know. For example, if you’ve engaged sponsors in the past they would want to know what the Return on Investment (ROI) was for that company. For example:
- Company X donates £5,000 to an event in 2013
- The ROI could be evaluated by how much their brand appeared in the media (AVE and OTS). For example, this could be an AVE of £500,000 and 1 million OTS
- ROI could also mean the amount of new business enquiries they had as a result of the event, e.g. 6 new clients, each worth £10,000 = £60,000.
Potential sponsors will be interested in how you work with partners. A portfolio of past case studies, including press cuttings, visuals and testimonials are all very powerful persuasion tools.
How else can you demonstrate that you make a good partner? You need to reassure corporate organisations that you understand accountability and managing partnerships.
This document lays out your argument for sponsorship to potential funders. In the cover letter, tailor your pitch depending on the company, but the proposal should be something you can send to anyone who might be interested in sponsorship.
There are several components you should include in the proposal:
- An overview of the campaign: The overview will give potential sponsors a big picture view of the project. It is useful to show the scope of the Week in your country, to describe the audiences and the types of events that are being planned. This section should include any facts and figures.
- What you are asking from the sponsors: Clearly layout what you want to receive from the sponsors and make sure you include a specific amount. It is useful to create different levels of sponsorship with different financial amounts to give potential sponsors more options.
- What the sponsor will get in return: Lay out why the potential sponsor should make a contribution to your campaign. Include both the tangible elements (logo recognition) and intangible benefits (the network they will be able to utilise). This is where you really sell them on the project so be super clear and specific on the ROI they will receive through getting involved in the campaign.
- Be Fully Equipped: When getting into a room with your potential sponsor, make sure you are fully prepared with all the facts and figures, and are confident pitching the opportunity to them. If there’s something you don’t know, say you will find out and get back to them as soon as possible.
- Be Clear: Remember to be clear about what you are looking for – that you are interested in talking about cash sponsorship and in-kind support. If they do not have funds available for sponsorship, it is worth clarifying this and mentally scoring them off the sponsor list. Then move on to discuss other ways they might get involved.
- Be Flexible: Know what the minimum amount is you would be prepared to accept, but be flexible and prepared to discuss different options and levels of sponsorship.
- Follow-up: If it’s a positive meeting, leave them with your brochure. Agree on next steps and send an email after the meeting summarising all the key points.
Finishing the pitch
- Thank Them: If a company agrees to sponsor send them a thank you letter along with a sponsorship agreement. The agreement will be what both parties sign as a legal document confirming the sponsorship.
- Regular Contact: Make sure to follow up with any potential sponsor and keep them up-to-date on how the campaign is going. Let them know if you get a new VIP endorsement or send them a copy of a newspaper article that writes a positive story.
- Keep Your Promises: If you said you would get back to them on a particular day with a piece of information they requested, stick to that deadline. If you don’t, potential sponsors will lose trust in your organisation’s ability to deliver.