Thursday, January 24, 2013

Event Sponsorships Planning

Event Sponsorships and Fundraising Efforts (PART ONE)

It has been suggested that your organization try an event to raise funds this year.  What to do?  Where do you start?  Here are some tips to help get your inaugural event off the ground with great success.

1.  Select your event and determine who would be most likely to be interested in attending...what audience would enjoy a golf tournament, a trivia night, a bowl-a-thon, a gala, etc.  The list of possible events is quite literally endless.

2.  Determine the financial goal of the event.  If you are hosting the first ever Trivia Night to benefit your child's school, you might set a goal of $15,000.  

3.  Find the location, determine total capacity crowd, set a reasonable price for individual tickets and then ponder sponsorship possibilities.

4.  Generally speaking, a place to start with sponsorship levels looks like this: "Gold Sponsor" $5,000; "Silver Sponsor" $2,500; "Bronze Sponsor" $1,000; Table Sponsor $500.  Individual tickets for this same event might be $25 per person for a total table cost of $200 to $250 depending on table size.

5.  Develop your sponsorship prospect list.  Who, corporately speaking, would be interested in sponsoring something with your intended audience?  If the event is for your child's school in your local community, your likely prospects would include local community businesses as well as businesses related to education and perhaps vendors to your school (those who sell their services to your school).

6.  Develop and send your first mailing with a personalized letter and a "sponsorship opportunities" page. Your "sponsorship opportunities" page also needs to include ways in which the company can and will be recognized for their gift.  Suggestions include:  a table of 10 with premier seating, logo recognition on website, printed publications, a placard in your school, etc.  Think outside the box for options that are free and inexpensive but will definitely give your funder bang for their buck.

7.  Be sure to do phone follow up a week to two weeks following your letter's drop date.  Get a "yes," a "no," or a "maybe," for each company to whom you mailed a solicitation letter.

8.  Depending on your event, you may want to also solicit auction items for a silent or live auction option to raise additional funds.  This is attractive to attendees of a trivia night, gala, and golf outing.

9.  You will be marketing your event as you progress toward your date so be sure to tout your fundraising success thus far.  For example, you might include in a press release announcing the event, "The Super School is hosting a Trivia Night sponsored by XYZ Corporation, ABC Company and others who have contributed to evening's events."  

10.  Be sure to follow up with your sponsors throughout the process and be sure to mix and mingle with them on the evening of the event so they can see how beneficial their gift the school as well as to their own business.

Coming in part two of this post will be a breakdown of sponsorship levels with recognition as well as scripting for follow up calls...check back!

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