This month our focus is on Sponsorships. Sponsorships are an often forgotten method of funding an organization’s work, but there are a key factors that determine success in the sponsorship arena. It will help to understand where sponsorship dollars are “housed” in organizations.
Sponsorship dollars are usually managed by the marketing department of businesses. Grants, on the other hand, are usually managed by the corporate responsibility department, philanthropic department or community outreach. When we think about who manages the money, we begin to understand, how it is viewed by the company. The goal of philanthropic gifts to nonprofits and ministries are given to receive good “press” or positive recognition in the community. Money that is given through the marketing department is money that has been set aside for the purpose of creating awareness of the business.
While the differences in the two may seem subtle, they can significantly affect the way funds are given out. Sponsorships are generally distributed through the marketing department.
Building Your Sponsorship Package
Identify your audience. Who will be attending your events, seeing your marketing efforts, etc. Also, make note about who your volunteers are. The goal during this step is to identify everyone who has the potential to engage through your sponsorship outreach efforts.
Your Offerings. Get creative as you think about the opportunities for exposure that you can offer in your sponsorship packages. This includes exposure on your website, social media outlets, at the event, etc. Here, you will want to be creative while also being realistic.
Developing a package. Take the time to develop sponsorship packages. Everything that you identified that you could offer a business is now assigned a monetary value. For some of the opportunities, this may be challenging because the offering is intangible. Everything being offered has a monetary value, even the intangibles.
As packages are developed, think about levels of support and what your organization is able to offer in exchange for various amounts of money. All levels should have intangibles included and the business should be able to clearly delineate the value of increasing their sponsorship. This information is often presented in a table format as it is easy to read.
Some organizations find that using catchy names for various sponsorship levels is also helpful, particularly if you are able to tie a level to a meaningful name related to your organizational mission.
Another strategy is to offer potential sponsors a menu of options that can be customized to their particular interests. Think about the menu at your favorite restaurant. You might select an appetizer, an entrée, a side or two and perhaps a dessert. No matter what you select in each of these areas, you will automatically receive a bread basket.
In the same way, your sponsorships can offer all sponsors a basic level of exposure. Then, after you have gone through all of your offerings, allow them to select one item from each category that you have developed. There are several ways to develop these categories; they could be developed according to programs, population served, etc. Again, have your menu build according to the sponsorship level (perhaps at the lowest level, the sponsor doesn’t get to select anything from the “dessert” column). By varying the offerings at each level, businesses may increase their sponsorship simply because there is something they want at the next funding level.
Spend some time this week developing your sponsorship package, next week we will focus on the contents to be included.