Do you have trouble getting your sponsors to sign on the bottom line?
Planning a fundraising event is challenging and time-consuming. You need a minimum of six months to plan an event (yes, I know it can be done in less, but it begins to get ugly if you have less time than that) and, ideally, nine months or more.
Lining up sponsorship commitments is usually something you do early in the process because that way, you can offer your sponsors maximum benefits—they can be in all of the pre-event publicity like participant registration or ticket sales and event promotional materials.
What if your sponsors delay making their commitment decisions?
In the nonprofit sector, we nonprofit professionals apply for positions in the nonprofit sector. We have experience with nonprofit jobs. Because we’re nonprofit professionals with nonprofit experience, applying for nonprofit jobs, we assume that the people who are reviewing our resumes understand what our titles and positions mean and entail. They don’t. Even if we list our accomplishments, they don’t get it. Too often, board members are hiring or sitting on the search committees that hire us. Those board members are almost always business people who don’t understand what’s involved in our jobs.
Recently, a friend asked me, “What do you do if your fundraising event goes flat?”
My friend works for a national organization with a signature fundraising event. She can’t just stop doing the event. Her chapter of the organization is required to use the event to raise funds every year, but for some reason, her community just isn’t having success with it. The event seems to have lost its appeal.
“So what can you do to turn things around?” she asked.
Early requests for sponsorship support were disappointing. One company’s response was typical, “How come, if you’ve been serving the community for 23 years, we’ve never heard of you before?”
Not promising as far as beginnings of sponsorship campaigns go.
The organization needed to re-introduce itself to the community. We decided to hold a Corporate Breakfast.
“I miss the adrenaline of special events,” my friend Emily’s email message read. We had worked together at a nonprofit organization a couple of years back and had worked side-by-side through many events. I had sent her a message and mentioned that I had an event the next day.
About 5 minutes after I read Emily’s email, I got another email message from the Operations Manager of the next-day’s venue. With less than 24 hours until our guests arrived, the manager’s message read [paraphrasing],
“Dear Event Organizer: We know your event is tomorrow, but we’re writing to tell you that we’ve changed all of our rules. Here are our new rules, including the rules you must follow before your event. If you don’t follow every single one of the rules, your event will be cancelled. By the way, surprise: here is your new invoice. We’ve changed that, too.”
Note to self: “must tell Emily not to write foreshadowing email messages.”
ponsorships can make the difference between an event being successful and an event being a failure. Sponsorship dollars are critical. Fortunately, sponsorship dollars are something that are easy to raise (yes, you read that right) – easy because they are a win-win. Companies receive several benefits from sponsorships:
- Corporate sponsorships provide companies benefits with their customers
- They increase employee productivity and loyalty, and
- They offer traditional marketing benefits like name/brand recognition in the community.