Here are 6 questions you need to ask to help get that corporate sponsorship.
Why should you ask questions of your sponsor?
Because most people don’t ask these questions. Most people have NO IDEA what’s happening when they ask for sponsorship. You just ask, and the money just magically appears in your hand, right?
If you’ve ever done a nonprofit fundraising event (and I’ve done… a few) then you know this equation:
Sponsorships = How you will make most of your money at your events.
Have you ever wondered what’s going on behind your CSR rep’s eyes?
Have you ever wondered what pressures they’re under, and how you could ever hope to pierce the veil of “company priorities for sponsorship”?
In order to get sponsorships, you’ve gotta think like a global business.
HOW do these corporations justify giving your nonprofit money, from a bottom line perspective?
Well, did you know that your mini-media juggernaut is NOT the main reason that companies give you sponsorship? No, they do it for SO MUCH MORE, including:
- Sales goals,
- Highlighting their products in connection with your cause,
- Keeping their employees motivated,
- Getting into new consumer markets,
- and MORE!
So now that you know this, here's a little bit of what you need to ask:
- Are there any aspects of your reputation that you would be interested in enhancing? Perhaps they are a very profitable company, but they want to highlight how GREEN they are. Maybe you can help them do that. But you should not assume anything. Ask this first. This will help you get a sense of what their PR priorities are. You might think, if they just had a major oil spill, like BP or Shell, that they would want to highlight how GREEN they are, but instead, they might want to highlight being “a great place to work.”
- Are there any key messages about your company that you want to urgently communicate? Maybe they want to urgently communicate about their new products, their mission, or initiatives into new markets. Perhaps they seek to penetrate some segment of the Hispanic market in your region, so they might want to urgently communicate how connected they are to this market, and how many Hispanic customers they already have.
- Are you having operational issues? Perhaps they are having issues with distributors, suppliers, franchisees, or retailers. How can you help their employees feel better about coming to work each day? You can help them feel as if they’re making a difference by paying them to volunteer with you, or get people to give to you at the cash register.
- Are you facing challenges in attracting and retaining a motivated workforce? Again, if a company shows it is committed to employee volunteerism, it’s found to make it one of the 100 best places to work, like Timberland shoes did a few years ago.
- Are there any consumer or business markets that you are pursuing where involvement in a social cause might give you a competitive edge? If this is a food company that manufactures something healthy, like Danon yogurt, and they are pursuing a consumer market such as affluent women who care about cancer, they might want to get involved with the Komen foundation, for example.
- In terms of brand images, are there any specific product that you are trying to position?Are there aggressive sales goals related to any of these projects? So this is kind of self-explanatory. If you know what they’re thinking about, you can also look at their other goals, think about how they can tie their product to your event.
If you can show the corporation that you can help them with two or more of the above, you’ve probably made a better case than half of your competitors who are out for those same sponsorship dollars.
After you’ve got these questions answered, build your letter, phone call and presentation around these issues, and then make sure your sponsorship contract reflects what you will provide to address them.
If you want to learn more about sponsorships, check out my Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Sponsorships
The preceding is cross-post of an article by Mazarine Treyz, the author of The Wild Woman's Guide to Fundraising. You can read the original article on her blog here. Mazarine has helped hundreds of nonprofits find new sponsorships with her webinars, e-courses and consulting.