The good news for non-profits is that sponsorships are seemingly everywhere nowadays. Just take a look at how many brands and businesses get involved with large sporting events. The football World Cup or Olympics is inundated with offers for sponsorship – largely because of the advertising possibility of having your name in front of billions of people.

Whilst sponsoring smaller events doesn’t have the same prestige, the basic principles remain the same. It’s the opportunity to associate a brand with charitable links and promote the business.

If you’re looking for a sponsor for your next charitable event, read through this section to get a better idea of how to attract the right sponsorship.

How to get sponsors for an event

So you’re ready to run a charitable function? In order to maximise revenue and have a serious chunk of money to hand over to the charity of your choice, having a corporate sponsor becomes essential. Take a look at our guide below of attracting a sponsor for your next event.

1. Locate relevant sponsors

Asking every business under the sun to sponsor your event usually isn’t the best practice to take. Instead, you need to find companies that are linked to your charity and would have a compelling desire to help out. Sponsors are looking for events to sponsor that would: 1). Have loads of people attending, so their brand is visible 2). Be focussed on something close to their heart. Try to think outside the box when it comes to targeting businesses for sponsorship. If you’re looking to raise money for an animal charity, how about approaching zoos, veterinarian centres and pet stores for help? Don’t neglect other companies though, because for instance, they may have animals close to their heart.

2. Include varying levels of sponsorship

Not every sponsor of your event needs to be paying the same amount. Instead, appreciate that certain businesses will have more to offer than others – so likewise, provide varying sponsorship levels. The more money they commit; the better publicity they’ll gain.

This also means companies can get involved with a sponsorship level that’s targeted towards their needs and budget, ensuring you don’t close your doors to anyone. For instance, sponsorship levels could start from as little as £50, whilst top end packages could be thousands.

As such, it’s worth mapping out these various levels early on, so when you contact certain companies you’ll have an idea of what’s likely to fit their budget.

Sponsorship ideas include:

• Coverage on emails and newsletters
• Banners at the venue
• Sponsorship of tables at the event
• Sponsorship logo on your website
• Sponsorship of an activity or the event itself.

There are plenty of options, so make sure to have a think about the different kinds of sponsorship you’d be willing to offer.

3. Spend plenty of time on the phone

The best way to garner sponsorship from businesses is to speak to them personally. Whilst email and letters can be used, it’s always a great idea to have a chat, so you can put across your enthusiasm and really make the company feel wanted and a necessary part of your plans.

Of course, you can ring all manner of businesses and start a conversation of whether they’d be interested. Just make sure you’re ready with your pitch, because if you’re stumbling around and can’t grip the person on the other end, they’re unlikely to hang around. Ideally your pitch would be 20 seconds of your finest and if they’re interested, they’ll start to ask questions.

Who you speak to will vary depending on the company. For smaller businesses, the chances are you’ll get straight in contact with the owner. However, for larger corporations you’ll find it a little more difficult. They likely receive countless requests for sponsorship, so if you don’t catch their attention you’ll get lost in the mix.

This will all obviously take you quite a bit of time, but at the end of the day it’s worthwhile if you’re raising a considerable amount for your charity.

4. Follow up your initial enquiry

Whether you decide to call, send a letter or email, following up and keeping your potential sponsors in the loop is essential. For some reason, people have the misconception that following up will simply bother the company and lead them to becoming disinterested – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

If a company is genuinely serious about engaging with your charity, they may want to arrange a face-to-face meeting. You could even suggest this yourself, because it gives you a foot in the door – plus it’s harder for a company to say no to your face, especially when it’s for charity.

5. Keep the relationship thriving

After your initial agreement with a sponsor, it’s important to massage the relationship and not simply disappear. You want sponsors to think their support is valuable (which it is), so don’t neglect them.

To start with, a thank you letter would be advisable, as this clarifies the sponsorship and what the company gets in return for their kind donation. You could also start to send them your charity newsletter if you have one, whilst keeping them in the loop of any other events you’re putting on. Also, if you’re ever planning on annual leave and won’t be able to pick up emails, set an out of office response to avoid your sponsors thinking you’ve dropped off the planet.

6. Keep in check with the non-sponsors

Just because a company wasn’t able to sponsor your event, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be interested in supporting the cause. Keep your relationship with local businesses flourishing, by inviting them along to the event.

It’s certainly worth a shot of sending ticket offers to local businesses and an accompanying message along the lines of: “Although you weren’t in a position to sponsor our charity event, we’d still love to invite you to the function and hope you’d be able to attend.” If they show up and enjoy the evening, there’s every chance they’ll consider budgeting for sponsorship at a later date.

7. Don’t skimp on the sponsor publicity

Gaining publicity is one of the major reasons a business will sponsor your event. Whilst helping out a charitable cause is certainly a motive, brand promotion is in their thoughts 24/7. When marketing and arranging your corporate charity event, make sure to mention your sponsors at every available opportunity. This will keep them happy and could lead to them sponsoring you again in the future.