3 Advisory Group Takeaways on Sponsorship and Raising Money

Fundraising June 11, 2015

Farhad Chikhliwala

By Farhad Chikhliwala

Our Membership Advisory Group connects you with people in similar situations, facing similar challenges. Our monthly call-in sessions see our members share ideas, work on strategies and contribute best practices to one-another.

In our latest conference call session, the Advisory Group took on the topic of “Sponsorship and Raising Money”. This seemed to be a topic that many members had a difficulty in. The group focused on finding, approaching and keeping sponsorships

Here are 3 top takeaways:  

1. Start small & start close

One of the members of the Advisory Group was a leader of a newly formed  veterinarians organization. The organization had just formed and they thought they had no real personal relationships with people they could call on for sponsorships. When asked about potential sponsors, he said: 

“Not in terms of any substance. Again, most of the people that we're involved with are just veterinarians; they're small practice vets. “

And that's when the Advisory Group chimed in. The group thought that even though the leaders/board of an organization did not have direct connections with sponsors, leveraging the power of the organization's membership was key. 

“Try and reach out to companies that are affiliated with your members, so perhaps reaching out to your members first and getting them to reach out to their contacts...not just your personal contacts, but perhaps making a first reach-out to members of your own organisation for them to then reach out to their own networks”

The group reiterated to first start by leveraging the personal contacts of people affiliated with the organization (members, volunteers, staff etc.) before blindly approaching bigger corporations. Their advice of starting small and close seems to be a good fit for organizations  just starting out.

2. Metrics, metrics, metrics

Companies and individuals who do want to sponsor organizations are always looking to see whether their contributions had any effect. In other words, they want to know if their money was well spent and whether they got the exposure they were expecting.

Our Advisory Group unanimously agreed that keeping some form of metrics was a good idea. 

Whether you're displaying a sponsor's logo in your newsletter, allowing them to set-up a display table at your event, or giving out some of their freebies; tracking the impressions and reach of those initiatives is a good practice. Simply keeping track of how many people actually read the newsletter, picked up a free T-shirt or attended an event can be enough. Your sponsor wants to know that you held up your end of the bargain, and made an effort to promote their product or service. They want to know that there was some value in sponsoring you, and that their agenda got promoted.

3. Keep materials in hand

Our Advisory Group agreed that having materials that outline your organization, its mission and reach is imperative. These materials should be able to convey to potential sponsors everything they would want to know about your organization.

“It's important to have some type of collateral that you can use to guide the conversation and leave behind as a reminder”

“I think that doing that marketing piece, is going to be like step one for my organisation. We've got to have something to show them the reasons that they should sponsor us, so that's what I'm going to be working on.”

Some things to include:
  • Who you are and what you want: Include information on your organization, its mission, values and initiatives.
  • What is in it for them?: Try and show some value. Find ways to convince them that their money will be well spent and they will ultimately come out on top. Showing proof of success of previous sponsor deals can be a huge boon here.
  • A call to action: Don't forget to leave a number or email address that they can contact you with. Make it as easy as possible for them to get more information or actually close the deal.

For more detailed infomration on winning long term sponsorship, I suggest you read Joe Water's guide: Getting Started Building Sponsor Partnerships on our Knowledge Hub.

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