The competition for sponsorship dollars continues to challenge nonprofits. No longer will businesses settle for logo placement, tables at events and links on websites.
A nonprofit’s mission and community benefits aside, let’s do a little math. A business sponsors a gala event for $50,000. The event reaches 400 people. That is $125 per person for a one-night event. Or, a nonprofit organization hosts its annual golf tournament and requests a business sponsorship of the tournament for $25,000. Four employees get to play in the tournament and join the awards ceremony dinner. That is $6,250 per person.
And I know there is a bit more to the benefits of the sponsorship for a business, including maybe a program mention or ad, logo placement and perhaps a thank you post on social media. But, really, that is an expensive investment.
There are many ways that businesses approach and evaluate sponsorships for their company. For a nonprofit organization, following are five ways to rethink sponsorships that will set you apart from the competition and provide additional ROI for business partners:
- Leverage Your Assets – Review what assets your organization can offer to business partners, e.g., guest column in a newsletter, monthly social media posts, board positions that will allow businesses leaders to network with potential customers, etc. Ask about their marketing and business goals, and provide your business partners with opportunities to share their story, messaging and community involvement.
- Engage Business Partner’s Employees – Many businesses have volunteer programs with matching funds. This is a great way to not only build relationships but also garner additional fundraising dollars for your organization.
- Tailor Your Programs – Businesses want creative ways to develop a relationship with current and potential customers. Before launching into your organization and event when meeting with a potential business partner, do a little research. What is keeping them up at night? How can your organization help solve or support their business goals?
Kim Harrison of CuttingEdge PR stated the following in an article “Many benefits you can offer sponsors”:
The sponsorship is used to enhance the audience’s emotional connection to the sponsor’s brand through their experience with the event or activity. The onus is therefore on you to use a big creative idea supported by various sponsor benefits.
- Keep Activation Simple – Provide business partners with a checklist and deadlines. Schedule a 15-minute phone call to run through logistics and answer questions. Follow up as needed with the appropriate contact/s.
- Showcase the ROI – A great recap report with quantitative and qualitative results, including photos, social media posts, media clips, etc. will go a long way. Adding lessons learned and ideas for the next event is icing on the cake.
Businesses are looking for ways to leverage their brand and share their story and nonprofit organizations have an opportunity to connect businesses with their target audiences/stakeholders. Who is doing it right? A few of my favorites: Colorado Parks and Wildlife Partners in the Outdoors; Denver Center for Performing Arts; The Center/PrideFest; and Colorado Garden Foundation.
Share the love. Tell us your best practices for sponsorships.