Monday, January 28, 2013

Event Sponsorships Part III

Event Sponsorships Part III

Thanks for checking back again.  Let's jump right in and talk about the pathway to your overall event goal and then scripting for follow up on an outstanding sponsorship request letter.

So, contemplating and planning the pathway to your goal is vitally important. To say, "let's have a trivia night; it will be so much fun and we'll raise some money," is not good enough.  How much do you want/need to raise?  What expenses will be involved that may bring down the total amount raised from the event?  

Here is how it might look...we previously stated an assumed goal of $20,000 for this first event.

We also said that we, just for an example, sold the following sponsorships (from that fantastic letter, remember?)

One Gold Sponsorship at $5,000
One Silver Sponsorship at $2,500
Two Bronze Sponsorships at $1,000
Five Table Sponsors at $500

Those would total $12,000.

Now, let's think ticket sales.  An expected cost per ticket is most likely $25 per person and some offer a discount that would allow a couple to come for $40.  For simplicity, let's go with individual tickets at $25 per person.

We're going to have our event at a venue that will seat 250 easily so if we sold out, we would have $6,250 in ticket sales; however, didn't we just say yesterday that those who donated sponsorships would get a table as a part of their benefits?  We did and it's a great benefit for a lot of reasons.  

So, let's take out nine tables of 10 or 90 people so now we're at 160 available tickets to sell for a total of $4,000 in ticket sales.  There is a possibility that the ABC company which gets a table of ten for their sponsorship donation will decide to "donate" the table back.  In that case, you can sell those tickets or you can use them, wisely, to invite potential donors, etc. to your event free of charge.  

That's only $16,000 and we really wanted to reach our goal of $20,000, didn't we?  

Most trivia nights, golf outings, galas, etc., now incorporate the idea of a silent and/or live auction to increase the funds raised. 

Your auction needs to bring in $4,000 in order for you to make your goal.  You can include on your sponsorship letter and opportunity page mailing the opportunity to donate a gift item from their business. 

Auctions take on a life of their own and really require someone to specifically manage that piece.  With good  management, your $4,000 goal will be achieved.  More about that in another blog...

Now, you've sent those great letters and you're expecting boxes and checks to come rolling in, right?  Well, that's not EXACTLY how it works.  I remember someone once saying, "the devil is in the details," and this is a prime example.  

You absolutely have to follow up on every letter you send out whether it is for your annual appeal, a scholarship initiative, or an event, follow up is the most essential part of your business and will determine your success.

Here is the simplest of scripts and you will be amazed at how much you can gain from using it.

"Hi Mr./Ms. XXX, I am XXX with XXX school and I am calling to follow up on a letter we sent recently to request a donation for our upcoming  auction and trivia night."  Answer questions and provide needed information.  At some point in your conversation ask, "can we count on you to support our Trivia Night with a sponsorship?"  If they are not interested in a sponsorship, work your way down to a Gift In Kind auction item.  Be sure to include in your conversation their opportunities for recognition.

If your contact person is not there, ask for voice mail and leave a message with a person as the last option.

Most people would say that telephone follow up is their least favorite but yet most effective form of communication to getting the dollars in the door.  Don't think of this as cold calling because it really isn't.  This is following up on a letter that you sent out to see if their interest fits with your opportunity.

Next time we'll chat more about following up on your solicitations for events...

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