It was great to see the positive reaction to my blog on making sure you have something to offer those who you are requesting support from – be that support financial, product or some sort of service. As we said in Part I, with all those worthy causes to donate too, you have to make your request stand out and one of the ways of doing that is to provide value.
I was talking to a friend about this and he said he is often asked for contributions to local fundraising activities. He said not only do these well-meaning people have an expectation that they will receive something – they have little or no idea about how to better their chances of support. Whilst we have touched on brand exposure and PR, one of the things he said would help, is if he heard back from those he has donated to. In other words, people are quick to ask for something but slow to make contact afterwards to thank the sponsor and to tell them how the event/project/initiative they were fundraising for, actually went. How did this person’s contribution actually help? Some of us see this as common courtesy, but perhaps it is not so common. If we don’t acknowledge and thank people, let alone update them on the success of the initiative, you certainly won’t get further support. Whereas if you build a rapport by communicating well, before, during (if relevant) and after the activity, you are well placed to receive further support in the future.
This is one of the key ways of securing funding – relationships. If you are on the school committee or some other local organisation, chances are your fundraising is not a one off – but probably an annual event. Being able to approach those who have given before is a lot easier than ‘cold calling’, so you have to look after your relationships. If you put out a newsletter, make sure your supporters receive this – or other news during the year. If they have supported you in the past, don’t just contact them a few weeks before your fundraiser and expect them to cough up. Put yourself in their shoes – it isn’t hard and means a lot.
We talked about adding value but what does this really mean? If you were running an event to raise money and you needed contributions, say wine for a raffle or a charity dinner, you can put the winery’s name and logo on the list of prizes or the menu. You can also mention them during the evening, giving them public acknowledgement of their support. In the run up to an event, you can mention the sponsors on your posters, the radio or whatever other advertising you are doing. Also, if you do have a regular newsletter, website or social media presence, you can give regular exposure to sponsors and their products. Remember it costs you nothing to do this, but engenders a lot of goodwill.
Here’s a check list to help:
- There are plenty of examples of sponsorship proposals online – take the time to research these and then create your own ensuring you cover the main points. Remember that your proposal might be their first impression of you and your organisation and first impressions count – big time!
- Research potential companies so you have an idea of what synergies there may be and what benefits might appeal to them,
- Find out who to contact and address your proposal to them. Not just ‘The Manager’!
- Meet with the company if possible
- If you are lucky enough to secure their support, always always do what you have promised in return.
- Remember to report back to your sponsors – thank them and tell them how their contribution made a difference.
Nutshell version? Get your ducks in a row, act with credibility and integrity and go for it!