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Top Tip: "Gain sponsors by making sure your plan is sponsor friendly and then be prepared to sell it."
Help Card By: Keith MacQueen
You have your plan pulled together and now it’s time to go about getting some sponsors to help you fund your great idea. Most sponsors see plenty of applications and requests for money, so you have to ensure you can stand out from the rest of the requests they will have on their desk.
A first tip is start early, don't leave this until the last minute as trying to rush your potential sponsors in to a quick decision is only more likely to result in a 'no' answer. Get on to this important step as soon as you possibly can.
Be realistic on how much funding you need and make the request proportionate to the size of the potential sponsor, another way to get a 'no' is to be asking for too much money, so be flexible and willing to accept less, you may not get it all from one sponsor, so be ready to wear out some shoe leather shopping your plan around.
Next you need to decide who you want to approach. Be aware of what’s available out there. Look at who does sponsorships in the field that your plan will be providing an outcome, and those who have shown that they 'care' about your cause or your district - maximise your chances of success by targeting your sponsorship target effectively and sensibly.
It’s unlikely that your idea will gain instant support so you have to build a relationship and show your potential value for potential sponsors quickly. To achieve this make sure you are able to present your plan in the best way possible. Having an eye-catching, concise, clear and on-target presentation pack will give you a greater chance of success and get that initial attention that creates interest in your sponsorship proposal - presenting professionally will always help gain attention it also creates an impression that you will 'deliver' what you say you will.
So what sort of information should you have in the information pack?
- A ‘blue sky’ summary of your idea; let sponsors know exactly what you are trying to achieve
- How many people your plan should reach and achieve an outcome for
- How you would incorporate the sponsors product or service into your publicity (e.g. signage, logo on emails/communications, photo opportunities, media, public recognition at events, etc.)
- Tell them what’s in it for them (sell it)
Once you've put in your request be patient when awaiting a response, by all means follow up if you haven't heard back from them promptly, but do it politely and with respect for the fact that it's their money your asking them to part with.
If you are successful, make sure you are timely and consistent in your correspondence and interactions with the sponsors, and that you deliver exactly what you promised – nothing shakes the confidence of a sponsor more than not hearing from groups they give money to. If you can provide any bonus exposure then that will show that you are a special partner and should stand you in good stead for any future requests.
If your plan is an event ensure you send pictures (with their logo/advertising appearing in it) and a wrap-up so that you are maintaining the communication lines open for the future. If it's an ongoing plan then give regular updates with evidence of the exposure you've given the sponsor and your progress towards the goal you've set for your plan.
The key is to build a relationship with sponsors and provide them with value for their money. If you do that then they will look on you favorably and hopefully support you for a long time.
Good luck getting sponsors on board with your plan!