Getting sponsors for events can be a real challenge. For pointers, we recently interviewed several for-profit company executives that approve and decline sponsorship requests.
The key is to get a clear request drafted in various formats while knowing who to approach for a response in sufficient time.
1. Keep the request simple
- some background and the event date
- the need and how the community is helped
- the anticipated # of people that will be attending or reached
- the return that the prospective sponsor can expect
- ie, prominent logo on an event banner
- verbal thanks during opening and closing remarks
- press release mention, etc
- specifications for logo or ad
- clear submission deadlines, not only for art – but for notification that they plan to sponsor at all
Most importantly, include contact info for questions/follow up/where and to whom funds should be sent. Surprisingly, this is the number one item missing from most requests.
2. Format the request as
- a bookmark
- a lobby sign
- a signed letter from leadership
- an email
- a social media post
- a phone script
3. Now that we know what to say and how to say it, whom do we approach?
- Local banks
- Local car dealerships, preferably family-owned
- Gold and silver dealers
- Local plumbers and HVAC companies
- Check the Sunday paper. Companies printing ads in the newspaper are a good prospect. If they still have a budget for print media, they likely have a community sponsorship budget or are willing to at least have a conversation.
- Check in with the local Chamber of Commerce for the names of new businesses. Shiny new businesses are often trying to get their name out into the community.
4. Give it time
Getting sponsorships can take up to 3 to 6 months. New and non-annual events often require the most time to gain traction and popularity.
Sammie Simpson, Vendor Program Manager