The Business of Corporate Sponsorship
Many of us use our advocacy and ambassadorships in support of non-profits that raise money for research or awareness of our causes. One of the biggest areas that these organizations often look for is help in getting corporate sponsorships to help underwrite or provide much needed funds annually.
Getting companies involved in your cause
Getting companies involved with your cause can be a difficult task to navigate. The larger the business, the more community service initiatives employees are asking them to support. How do you set yourself apart and get them to participate in support of PsA? The key is, what’s in it for them? That’s not to say that corporations are heartless and only care about themselves. In most cases, that’s far from true, but again they need to figure out why they should choose your event or fundraiser over another. The only way to select is truly to determine who gives the best case that lives at the intersection of social consciousness and business intent.
When looking at asking a company for corporate dollars or participation there are a few questions you must answer before putting together your pitch.
- Do they have a known interest or connection to the cause already?
- What other causes are they involved with and what is their commitment?
- What is the company culture?
- What kind of marketing exposure can you give them?
- What kind of access can you provide to potential ‘customers’ for them?
- What year over year opportunity is there to build the relationship?
From here you can craft your ask smartly and speak directly to the needs of the company. For example, if they are a business who struggles to get exposure, a sponsorship opportunity that includes an interview with a media partner may be incredibly appealing. If they are an organization that is looking for ways to team build, don’t just ask them to form a walk team. Instead, put together a competitive opportunity for employees to fundraise with a great pay-off. Maybe it’s as simple as winning fundraiser gets an extra day off or the boss has to go in a dunk tank. The ideas can be simple and fun, but they are often things companies haven’t had time to think of so give them the tools up front.
Keeping companies interested
Once you have them on-board show them the love! Pay attention to them at the event. Get lots of pictures, tag them and thank them on social media, give them a fun thank-you souvenir, bring bagels to the office for the staff. There’s any number of things you can do to show your appreciation beyond a standard note or certificate.
Don’t forget about them the rest of the year. Keep in touch, tell them what their support has done for the cause. Plan a mid-year get together ice cream social to connect and begin plans for the following year. Invite a key player to serve on a committee or board, when appropriate. Show them that their knowledge is valued. You would be amazed what this can do.
Remember what they do for a living – if they offer a service or product that could be of service of someone you know, make the introduction. Neglecting sponsors is one of the worst things that can happen for an organization. Just as we are out courting new companies to join our crusade, other entities are pitching our existing sponsors hoping to bring them over to theirs. The honeymoon can never be over with sponsors. They need to always remain top of mind.
Navigating corporate sponsorship can be tricky, but it can be so beneficial for everyone – especially the companies! So put together some ideas, get creative and go in for the ask. The Human Resource Directors will be beyond grateful, and you’ll likely not only capture the support of the business, but if done right, each employee will become personal ambassadors as well.