Most nonprofits don’t have a surplus of cash on hand. In fact, most small to mid-size nonprofits struggle to maintain enough funds to continue their regular programming. A potential solution to this issue is a sponsorship program, a tit-for-tat transaction between your nonprofit and another company, be it a for-profit or not. Sponsorship programs aren’t for every organization, but they can provide some much-needed relief when money is tight. If you’re considering starting your own, take a look over these tips.
Before you begin the process of seeking sponsorships, you need to know what your organization offers that can actually be sponsored. What is it that your organization does? Do you raise funds? Produce content? Sell products? The answers to these questions will inform the types of sponsorships you offer. For example, if you regularly host fundraisers, consider having a company sponsor them. Put their logo on all promotional material alongside your own, and invite them to say a few words during the event. Or, if you create content (much like Nonprofit Hub), allow sponsors to advertise within your content channels—on your website, in your magazine or newsletter, etc.
It’s also crucial that you know the demographics of your constituents before reaching out to potential sponsors. Whether they’re consumers of your content, donors or they’re affected by your organization in another way, sponsors will want to know who they are. How old are they? How much money do they make? Where do they live? This information is critical, and most companies won’t engage in fiscal sponsorship without knowing it. If your organization produces content, it’s also important to know how many people read/watch/listen to your content during the span of a potential sponsorship.
Other organizations probably won’t inquire about sponsorships if they don’t know you’re open to them. Display the specifics of your sponsorship program—packages, prices, a point person and any other criteria—in an easily accessible place on your website. If most of your operations happen offline, just make sure the staff member in charge of sponsorships is aware of your constituents’ information.
After you have a few successful sponsorships under your belt, share how they went with the world! Post photos and testimony on your website or in promotional materials for your next event. If companies can see firsthand that other organizations have benefitted from partnering with you, they’ll be more likely to reach out.
Be sure to show off the successes of your organization, too. How many people have you served? Money raised? Homes built? Qualify those statistics with stories from your donors, volunteers and beneficiaries. Stories generate empathy, so who knows—maybe a potential sponsor will be moved to action.
Perhaps the most important advice of all is to remain passionate and confident about your cause, even when times are tough and stressful. Sponsors won’t agree to support your fundraiser or fund a project that you don’t completely believe in. Of course, you DO believe in it, and this should all go without saying, but it’s important to keep in mind.
If cash is thin, even a minor sponsorship program can help provide both financial support and an extended audience. Keep these tips in mind as your begin your sponsorship journey!
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