Could you (yes, you) be bringing in real funding through corporate sponsorships?
Never tried to get corporate sponsors before? Thought that kind of thing was for huge, bold organizations - or at least huge, bold events?
Think again. Corporate sponsorships happen in many forms, on many different scales. Your organization can benefit from them too.
As with any other new thing you try, you’ll face a learning curve. But it’s really not as complicated as you think. Let these 7 tips and insights lead your way.
1. Target your Sponsors
Which businesses in your wider community would most likely become your corporate sponsors? They probably would:
- Have a visible marketing/PR presence
- Stand to benefit from exposure to the people in your donor base
- Have previously supported causes like yours
This is your starting point. Do some research and start drawing up a list of potential CS’s. Simple.
- 2. Build Those Relationships
Major, high-ticket sponsorships don’t happen overnight. So look at CS-hunting like you do at fundraising - a gradual journey.
Right now, you’ve got one goal: to build and nurture relationships with the right kind of businesses. The funds themselves will start flowing in when they’re ready - with existing relationships maybe immediately. With new ones, perhaps in six months or a year.
3. Determine Your Budget
You’re not just in this game for a check. When dealing with corporate sponsors, you’ll want to be specific. I’d like this business (or list of businesses) to cover the cost of… hosting my dinner. Catering my gala. Flying in that A-list speaker.
And, like any other fundraising, go as big as you can. Ask ambitiously. Make the solicitation worth your time.
4. Don’t Think “Donation”
When you get a CS, you’re not receiving a donation. You’re striking a mutually beneficial deal: you’re getting funds, and they’re getting PR value.
Corporate sponsorships are marketing opportunities. Businesses do CS’s for one simple reason: because it makes them look better to their target audience.
They want more customers. Your donor base is full of people they could sell to. So getting their name attached to your event gives them tremendous marketing value.
Why should that matter to you? Because you need to plan your pitch accordingly.
Don’t just use the same shpiel you give to ordinary donors about how much good their gift will accomplish. Instead, talk about how much value this sponsorship will bring to their business. Explain how your donor base holds their ideal customers. List all the benefits this CS would bring to their bottom line.
5. Emphasize Your WHOLE Base
Don’t say: “It’s an opportunity to get your name in front of the 400 people attending this gala.”
Do say: “It’s an opportunity to get your name in front of the 400 people attending this gala, the 2500 people invited to the event, the 2000 people reading our e-newsletter, and the tens of thousands of people seeing our ad in the national Jewish magazines.”
As far as corporate sponsors are concerned, your “donor base” might be far huger than you think. Don’t forget all those people receiving your event invites, getting your emails, or visiting your website. To the businesses you pitch, every single faraway eye is valuable. So don’t forget to emphasize ‘em all.
6. Look for Gifts in Kind
Corporate sponsors don’t just cover events. Some businesses will be happy to provide “gifts in kind,” or specific types of non-monetary help they can get recognition for.
They might sponsor new sports equipment for your gym. Notebooks for your seminar. One kiruv organization I'm close with received Smart Cars for all their rabbi’s!
Be creative. What businesses in your community might want to trade you a “gift in kind?”
7. Share Your Successes
Already had success in getting corporate sponsors? Tell us about it! What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t?
The growing community of Jewish leaders reading this content would find your insights valuable. Care to share?
Have a great fundraising week,