What seems easy on the surface, is very hard when it comes down to signing up sponsors. You may think a local bakery for example would love “the opportunity” to give you free bagels as a means of marketing their business to the locals. Wrong!
Finding sponsors is very difficult. Whether it be in-kind, such as product or financial, sponsorship campaigns require a lot of hard work and creativity. And even then, absent someone who has a relationship already established that can vouch for you, finding sponsors is anything but guaranteed.
There are a number of reasons why, including the bombardment of requests companies receive every day to sponsor an event. And the reality is, that all charities are created equal, in that who is to say one charity has a more important cause than another.
As a former specialty run shop owner, I was constantly asked to donate shoes, or gift certificates, water, you name it. And the reality is, I couldn’t support every single request that came through my door. Though I tried, I eventually had to scale back what I gave each event so that I could help as many as possible.
First and foremost, you need to get into the mind of the sponsor. Does a local bagel shop really need to give away free bagels to market their store? What cost do you think those bagels are versus the cost of advertising elsewhere. After all, to the bakery, it’s not about donating to be kind, but rather to promote their business.
You can help sponsors with their decisions in giving them a sense of your demographics. A women’s only yoga studio for example may be more interested in an event with a high female participant rate versus the local men’s barbershop.
Think through what you are asking. It’s easier to donate product and or services than money. A bagel shop would be more willing to donate $100 in bagels versus $100 in cash, considering the bagels likely cost them maybe $20, yet to the event it is a $100 donation.
In the end though, the best approach is to canvas your event volunteer team. Does someone know somebody at a local business than can put in a sponsorship request on your behalf? It’s a lot easier, faster and more effective if there is an existing relationship already in place.
Bottom line, don’t give up. Sponsors often want to see an event’s history. They may not be willing to get in on the ground floor but rather become involved once the event is a proven staple within the community. Then the sales pitch is not only easier, but now you have far greater bargaining power.
Content provided by