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Who is on Your List?

Are you looking for a way to generate additional revenues for the nonprofit or ministry without going back to your faithful donors? Sponsorships are a great way to bring in additional funds for nonprofits and ministries. Over the next few weeks, we will go through the process of developing a plan for successful sponsorships.

Let’s begin by developing a definition of sponsorship to ensure we are all on the same page.

A sponsorship is a mutually beneficial relationship between a for-profit business and a nonprofit or ministry. By mutually beneficial we mean a relationship that provides a benefit to each party involved. For the organization, the benefit is in the form of cash or in-kind services while for the business, the benefit is in the form of publicity or positive press.

Many organizations begin the process of developing sponsorship opportunities by thinking about what they need, perhaps a specific dollar amount they are seeking to raise. And then, they wonder why they are not able to attract any sponsors. Instead of focusing on the needs of the organization, focus on the needs of the business.

What does your organization have or what can you give to the business that will be valuable?

Before we get into the logistics of sponsorships, I want you to focus for a moment on who to target for sponsorships.

Make a list of potential sponsors. Because sponsors are seeking publicity or recognition for their contribution to the organization, it is important to think about the message you will be sending if it is perceived that your organization has aligned itself with a business. Do the values of the business align with the mission of the organization, or do they contradict with it? If they contradict with the mission of the organization, a sponsorship is not a good idea…no matter how much money is on the table.

Make a list of businesses who are connected to your board members. Developing sponsorships is a lot like developing individual donors, they are built on relationships. Once you have a list of potential sponsors, review it with board members to see who they are connected with and who they can connect you with.

What products or services do your clients use? Since the goal of for-profit businesses is to make a profit, they are most likely to be interested in sponsoring organizations that serve those who purchase their goods and services. These are a natural fit.

However, there may also be businesses that are a good fit, but are not so obvious. Take time to think about these and then develop speaking points to help the business understand the connection. If you do not communicate it, the business may not make the connection.

Employers of clients or employers of parents of clients. It is helpful to know who the employers are of those you serve. Businesses have a vested interest in making the community a better place for their employees – it creates a better morale amongst employees and improved work habits. Help businesses to see how the work your organization does makes the community a better place.

Spend some time this week working your lists of potential sponsors. Next week, we will begin to look at the Sponsorship Plan.

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