Securing sponsorships is a vital aspect of organizing successful events and generating revenue for non-profit organizations. Sponsorships create a win-win situation for both sponsors and sponsored parties, as they help increase brand awareness, reach target audiences, and provide financial support. This comprehensive guide on how to get sponsored will walk you through the process of getting sponsored in 2023, from understanding the basics to finding and approaching potential sponsors, crafting winning proposals, and maintaining strong relationships with your sponsors.

Key Takeaways

  • Gain an understanding of sponsorship basics and assess your strengths to identify opportunities.

  • Craft tailored proposals that align with potential sponsors’ interests, leveraging research and outreach techniques for successful partnerships.

  • Embrace digital opportunities and focus on social impact to maximize success in securing sponsorships.

Understanding Sponsorship Basics

Sponsorship is a powerful tool that can elevate your events, campaigns, or projects by providing financial or material support from companies, such as a corporate sponsor, in exchange for promotional advantages, including displaying the sponsor’s logo. However, securing corporate sponsors requires offering sponsor incentives that cater to their interests, align with their goals, and provide value to their brand. How to get a sponsor can often be more challenging than just walking into a local chain store and asking.

Types of Sponsorships

There are several types of sponsorships available, including event, product, and team sponsorships (if you’re a nonprofit, you’re probably most interested in event sponsorship). Each type of sponsorship offers distinct objectives and advantages, such as connecting with a specific target audience or gaining a positive reputation for supporting a noble cause.

Event sponsorship is particularly popular, as it enables brands to become an event sponsor, leveraging the platform to promote their products and services, enhance their name, and gain exposure through the event sponsored by the event’s host. Meanwhile, the sponsored party gets help with the upfront costs of hosting a large event, especially if that event is meant to raise money for a good cause.

Sponsorship packages outline the costs and benefits associated with each tier of sponsorship. Packages help provide partners with a clear understanding of what they can expect in return for their investment.

Not every sponsorship relationship will be this complex: depending on the size of your organization your agreements might be much simpler.

Sponsorship Goals

Sponsors may have various goals when entering into a sponsorship agreement, such as increasing brand awareness, reaching their target audience, or enhancing brand credibility. By associating their brand with an event, sponsors can generate leads, create content for marketing, build relationships, gain audience insights, and improve public perception.

When selecting the most appropriate partner for your event and tailoring your sponsorship proposal, it’s imperative to understand the goals of potential sponsors.

Benefits for Sponsored Parties

Sponsored parties can reap significant benefits from sponsorships, such as financial support, increased visibility, and access to resources. Recognizable sponsors can foster a sense of belonging and connection among attendees by associating them with a network of shared brands and values. Think of a local long-standing and beloved business supporting a small and relatively unknown nonprofit in a smaller city or town: the business’s reach and reputation will help as much as their money.

Collecting audience data can prove useful in showcasing the value and visibility your event can offer to potential sponsors, thereby making the potential return on their investment more evident. By partnering with sponsors that share your values, you can enhance your brand reputation, appeal to future sponsors, and make a positive impact on the community.

Identifying Your Sponsorship Opportunities

woman's hands on laptop

Securing the right partners for your event or project hinges on identifying your unique sponsorship opportunities. By assessing your strengths and aligning them with potential sponsors’ interests, you can create mutually beneficial partnerships that maximize the value of the sponsorship for both parties.

The subsequent sections will provide insight on how to evaluate your strengths and align your sponsorship opportunities with potential sponsors’ interests for the most successful outcome.

Assessing Your Strengths

Evaluating your strengths in areas such as audience demographics, event reach, and social media presence helps determine your sponsorship appeal. Understanding your audience and their interests is vital to formulating a focused plan for your event and marketing efforts, which can be leveraged to compose a convincing pitch for sponsors.

Utilizing tools such as surveys, social media analytics, and website traffic data can help you identify your audience and the brands that appeal to them. By creating a comprehensive list of organizations that align with your audience’s interests, you can better target potential sponsors and maximize the likelihood of securing their support.

Aligning with Sponsors’ Interests

After assessing your strengths and identifying potential sponsors, tailoring your sponsorship opportunities to match their interests and values becomes a crucial step. By doing thorough research on potential sponsors’ past sponsorship activities, target audiences, and brand values, you can ensure that your proposal aligns with their objectives and aspirations.

Moreover, providing an overview of the sponsorship opportunity, a detailed description of how it aligns with the potential sponsors’ interests and values, and any other pertinent information in your proposal will increase your chances of securing their support.

For example: if you’re a nonprofit whose mission is to end food insecurity in your small community, you could look for restaurant or grocery store sponsors that have supported similar initiatives in the past. 

Crafting a Winning Sponsorship Proposal

Securing the support of prospective sponsors relies heavily on a well-crafted sponsorship proposal. It should include essential components that demonstrate the value of the sponsorship opportunity and address the specific needs and goals of each potential sponsor.

Essential Components

A successful sponsorship proposal should include key information, such as:

  • Event details such as the date, location, duration, type, and estimated attendance

  • Audience data, including demographics and interests: try to answer the question of how your event guests might positively impact your sponsor’s business

  • Proposed sponsorship packages, outlining the benefits and opportunities of each tier for sponsors (one tier might put their name on promotional materials while a higher tier might make their name and logo the largest, for example)

These details are crucial in helping potential sponsors understand what they can expect from their investment.

Additionally, offering demographic information about the expected attendees, such as age, gender, and location, will help potential sponsors comprehend the potential reach of their sponsorship.

Make sure to outline the different sponsorship packages you offer, including the benefits associated with each tier, to provide potential sponsors with a clear understanding of their options. Remember that several sponsors at a lower tier can be just as powerful as one at a higher tier.

Customizing Proposals

To enhance the appeal of your sponsorship proposal, customize it to address the specific needs and goals of each potential sponsor. By engaging in dialogue with potential sponsors and researching their brand, target audience, and other pertinent information, you can tailor your proposal to demonstrate your understanding of their objectives and aspirations.

Make sure to present the proposal professionally and in an organized manner. Consider using templates or a PDF/PowerPoint presentation to make it visually appealing and easy to digest.

Customize your proposal to suit each potential sponsor’s needs in order to increase your chances of securing their support and building a strong partnership.

Approaching Potential Sponsors

With a winning sponsorship proposal in hand, the next step involves approaching potential sponsors. Effective research and outreach techniques are crucial to grabbing the attention of potential sponsors and initiating conversations that can lead to successful partnerships.

Tip: Explore our list of businesses that help fundraise. Many of these companies will sponsor events in addition to donating products or services.

Effective Outreach Techniques

After identifying potential sponsors, the next step is to use effective outreach techniques to capture their attention and kickstart meaningful conversations. Personalized emails, LinkedIn messages, and cold calls can all be effective ways to approach potential sponsors. 

When crafting your outreach message, make sure to:

  • Mention any shared connections

  • Demonstrate your understanding of their brand and objectives

  • Provide a clear call to action to make it as easy as possible for them to respond

How to Approach Local Businesses for Sponsorship

You’ll want to tailor your approach to the size of your sponsor and your community. If you’re considering asking a local mom and pop in your small town, go for an in person conversation if you can catch the owners/managers in a convenient time and place and then ask them for some of their time to listen to your pitch.

For chains that have locations in your town or city, you’ll want to try to identify the local manager or franchise owner to discuss sponsorship options: whether you call, email, or try to find them in person is up to your sense of discretion.

For much larger corporations that have a location or their headquarters in your city, check to see if they have a portal or particular email address to send sponsorship requests to. This is not to say that you shouldn’t also leverage connections you have within the organization, but approaching the potential sponsor through both official channels and less formal ones simultaneously can make a good impression.

Remember, persistence is key, and following up with potential sponsors can significantly increase your chances of securing their support. Ask if they have a preferred method of contact and set up your meeting over the phone, video call, or in person. Try to keep initial outreach brief: they are busy people after all, and you can make your full pitch later.

Building and Maintaining Sponsor Relationships

Two women in business meeting

To ensure continued support and collaboration, it’s important to focus on building and maintaining strong sponsor relationships.

Below we’ll discuss strategies to maintain regular communication with sponsors and ways to showcase their success, which would strengthen your partnership and encourage future events collaborations.

Regular Communication

Regular communication with your sponsors is key to keep them updated about event progress, address any concerns, and reinforce your partnership. Make sure to provide updates on agendas, project status reports, and other pertinent information to keep sponsors engaged and informed.

Schedule regular meetings or check-ins to review progress, address any challenges, and explore potential opportunities for further collaboration. By keeping your sponsors in the loop and addressing their needs, you can build a strong, long-lasting partnership that benefits both parties.

Tip: You might find that your sponsor prefers a hands-off approach and was happy to simply give you the money for your event or project. Even if that’s the case, keep track of what meetings and communications you did have, and be sure to deliver positive feedback and data showing how your event may have impacted their business.

Showcasing Sponsor Success

To maintain strong relationships and encourage future collaborations, it’s important to demonstrate the value of the sponsorship and showcase sponsor success. This can be achieved through social media shoutouts, case studies, or fulfillment reports that highlight the positive impact of the sponsorship on both the event and the sponsor’s brand. 

Work with the sponsor to discover if their brand got more interaction on social media, or if their sales or website traffic increased directly after the event? There are many metrics you can use to measure success, just make sure you’ve agreed upon them with your partner.

By providing data and metrics that demonstrate the success of the partnership, you can reinforce the value of the sponsorship and help sponsors recognize the potential return on their investment.

Showcasing sponsor success not only strengthens your existing partnerships but also serves as a powerful tool to attract future sponsors and grow your network.

Adapting to Changing Sponsorship Trends

With sponsorship trends constantly evolving, keeping abreast of these changes is key to maintaining successful partnerships and attracting new sponsors. Embracing digital opportunities and focusing on social impact are two key areas to consider when adapting to changing sponsorship trends.

Embracing Digital Opportunities

Digital opportunities, such as virtual events, webinars, or social media campaigns, offer new ways to expand your sponsorship reach and appeal to modern sponsors. These digital platforms provide a global reach, capitalize on online marketing channels, and integrate digital elements to amplify sponsor value and engagement.

By embracing digital opportunities and incorporating them into your sponsorship offerings, you can stay ahead of the curve and attract sponsors that recognize the potential of digital platforms to connect with their target audiences.

Focusing on Social Impact

A focus on social impact is key to enhancing your brand reputation and attracting sponsors that share your values and contribute positively to the community. Partnering with sponsors that are committed to making a positive impact in the world demonstrates your dedication to working with organizations that align with your values and interests.

This focus on social impact not only strengthens your existing partnerships but also serves as a powerful tool to attract future sponsors and grow your network.

Do Your Research, Make a Pitch, Gain a Partner

In conclusion, learning how to get sponsored is a multifaceted process that requires effective research and outreach techniques, and the ability to build and maintain strong relationships. By focusing on aligning your opportunities with potential sponsors’ interests, crafting winning proposals, and adapting to changing sponsorship trends, you can maximize the value of your sponsorships and create lasting partnerships that benefit both parties. Whether you’re a large organization looking for corporate sponsors or a small club or nonprofit looking to raise funds, using these techniques will help you find help. With dedication and persistence, you can unlock the full potential of sponsorships and elevate your events, campaigns, or projects to new heights of success.

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Who can I ask to sponsor me?

Reach out to the banking, hotel, grocery chain, insurance company, food brand, beer brand, major retail, or airline industries to sponsor you. These are the most likely industries to support your initiatives. While mom and pop businesses might be just as invested in your cause, they might not have the available funds to invest in your project or event. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask them though: they might be able to help you in other ways, like hanging signage or donating items as opposed to money.

Is it hard to get a sponsor?

Getting a sponsor can be hard work, as it requires thoughtful selection of potential sponsors, a great letter of interest, and lots of persistence. As companies are often hesitant to take part in formal matching processes, it is difficult to engineer these relationships yourself. Friendly, consistent outreach is your best bet.

How do companies give sponsorships?

Companies give sponsorships by providing financial donations or tangible items in exchange for recognition or promotional benefits. Sponsorships can range from underwriting the cost of an event to supporting a nonprofit program or project.

What are the different types of sponsorships available?

Different types of sponsorships available include event, product, and team sponsorships, each offering different objectives and benefits.

How can I assess my strengths to determine my sponsorship appeal?

Assess your audience demographics, event reach, and social media presence to determine your sponsorship appeal. Analyze your strengths in each of these areas for a comprehensive evaluation of your sponsorship potential. Even if your organization is new or small, you can project how many people your project might reach, what kind of people they might be (parents, shoppers, pet-owners, etc.), and how that reach might benefit your potential sponsors.