How you doing? Today let’s move towards Coordination with local and national agencies.
Whenever you set organizing an event in your mind it is the most important part you need to think of. If you are smart enough, there is no doubt that you can organize an event with your zero budgets. But to make a quality event you will need your budget and it is the first thing that matters to every activities of your event. So, to increase potential participation and defray the cost you need to find sponsors and partnerships with different agencies around you.
Here are some steps that offer coordination with local and national agencies.
1.Determine who your audience is?
Sending "blind" proposals usually does not work well. Knowing your audience helps you figure out who to solicit.
Events that are successful in securing sponsors often 1) have a ton of people involved or 2) have a very specific focus.
When you're planning your event, try to go beyond your organization. For example, if your agency provides shelter to animals, think about hosting an event in which you can invite local veterinarians, pet store owners, zoo employees, etc. One reason to invite "professionals" is because it is lucrative from the sponsors' point of view. Sponsors may not be interested in your organization, but they may be interested in getting their product into the hands of these professionals. Another advantage to inviting a new pool of people is that more people will know about your organization and possibly volunteer or donate money. In case of making government bodies your supporter, you need to organize an event on the line of government’s ongoing program.
Once you have established your audience, do some brainstorming. Think about which companies and local businesses are likely to be interested in reaching your audience.
2.Set Support Levels
It's a good idea to have a wide range of levels so that smaller businesses as well as larger companies can find a level that suits their needs and budget. Your level for support must be based on your event size.
Know in advance that you may have to be flexible and customize levels for some sponsors. Some sponsors might be interested in a half cash, half in-kind (product donation) sponsorship. Food and beverage companies often would like to see their logo on T-shirts, hear their company name announced, etc. They may want to have a table or booth available to distribute their products.
Depending on your event, these are a few benefits you might want to consider offering (but proceed with caution to address the possibility that the revenue might be subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax — UBIT):
- sponsor banner displayed at event;
- sponsor name announced at event;
- dinner table supported by sponsor (i.e., each person at the table receives a promotional item and literature from the sponsor and the sponsor's logo is displayed at the table);
- small sponsor banner or logo displayed on podium;
- sponsor name or logo in organization's newsletter;
- sponsor name or logo in advertisements in newspapers and magazines;
- sponsor logo on organization's website (can include a hotlink to their site);
- sponsor logo on T-shirt; and
- Category exclusivity (a guarantee to sponsors that once they sign on, none of their competitors will be allowed to sponsor).
3.Make lots of phone calls:
The most time-consuming ,but ultimately money-saving step: Get on the phone and pitch your event as a great marketing opportunity.
Call local business to find out if they're interested in reaching your market. When you begin your conversation, focus on how the agency will benefit: "This is Such And Such from My Organization. I thought you might be interested in marketing your company's products/services at an upcoming event we're hosting...do you have a few seconds?" If they are interested, you can always go into more detail or send more information.
Your calls will vary with the type and size of company you contact. You'll probably speak directly to owners at small local businesses. Medium-size companies may have marketing departments or human resource departments that take care of sponsorships. Large companies receive countless requests for sponsorship, and they may have a sponsorship recording that gives you their guidelines for requests. These companies usually put together their budgets once a year, often October, so you may have to send your proposal months ahead of time. Be sure to pay attention to corporate areas of focus: Some companies make commitments to only sponsor certain groups such as children or environmental organizations.
Once you've made all these calls, review your notes and prepare a list of companies you will solicit. Yes, this takes a lot of time, but it can save your organization money. Instead of blindly sending out proposals to hundreds of businesses, ignoring their guidelines and focus areas, you can send dozens of proposals to companies who have already expressed interest in your event.
4.Send Proposal Letters:
It's important that agenceis feel that they're not just part of a massive group.
Keep your letters short. As in your phone calls, concentrate on the exposure the company will receive for their money, not on how the money will help you. You may come across a few agencies that aren't as interested in the publicity; they want to sponsor your event because they truly believe in your organization's mission. They're a very rare but much to be appreciated.
Make sure sponsor benefits are easily found in your letter and they're easy to understand. Consider using bullet points to make the benefits stand out. Make sure your letters include your name, address and phone number, the date and location of the event and the address to send checks and in-kind donations. If your letter doesn't include a short description (two paragraphs, or a few bullet points), on what your organization does, then include a one-page fact sheet or a tri-fold brochure on your organization. Hand signs each letter.
Finally, include a chart or brochure that details sponsor benefits at each level. If this is the second time your organization is hosting the event, include a flyer that lists the sponsors and describes the audience from the previous time.
Don't be afraid to call potential sponsors to find out their thoughts on sponsorship.
After receiving your letter, some agencies will call you to say they're interested in supporting. Most will not. It's up to you to follow up with them about two to three weeks after sending your proposal. Some people hesitate to follow up, thinking it will bother the company. Generally most large companies do not accept follow-up calls, so note that when you're making your initial call. But for those that do not mention "no follow-up," it is perfectly OK to do so. In fact, it's the best way to find out that an interested company did not receive your letter.
6.Cultivate your Relationships with supporters:
Don't drop your sponsors once they've agreed to support you.
One of the worst messages to send to a sponsor is: "I just cared about getting your money. Now that I've got it, I'm going to disappear." Make sure sponsors see that you value their support. Once a company has agreed to sponsor, send them a thank-you letter that recaps the benefits at the level they've chosen. After you receive their check, send another thank-you. If your organization has a newsletter, begin sending it to them. If you don't have a newsletter, send them periodical updates on your organization and/or the event. Any time you think a sponsor has a concern about something, give them a call. If a sponsor calls you, make it a point to return their call as soon as possible and absolutely within 24 hours. If you'll be out of the office for a few days, make sure your voice message directs sponsors to a live person.
7.Cultivate your relationships with non-sponsors
Perhaps people who weren't able to sponsor may be interested in attending your event.
As your event draws near, send invitations to some of the agencies that will increase participation. They might be one to support you in next event.
8.Give your sponsors plenty of publicity
Publicity is why your sponsors signed on...so make sure they get it!
This sounds obvious, but make sure your sponsors receive everything promised. If you can give them added publicity, by way of name announcement, etc., do so.
9.Cultivate relationship with sponsors, Part 2
Don't drop your sponsors after the event.
Send thank-you letters to sponsors after the event. Let them know how successful the event was, how much money was raised, the final attendance count, etc. For sponsors at high levels (or, if your event was very small, for all sponsors), put together packets that showcase their publicity. Include copies of all the ads they appeared in, photos of their banners at the event, photos of people using their products at the event, etc. If some sponsors had any concerns at any point, give them a call to see how they think things worked out.