You are planning a school event, most likely a fundraiser. The main question you should ask yourself is; how are you going to fund it? It is simple; finding sponsors is the only way to fund your special school event. The more corporate sponsors you attract, the more money you raise. Having companies sponsor your event also raises its influence level. The names of the corporate sponsors on your list might be enough to bring much-needed credibility.
However, it is never that straightforward, especially for a school or nonprofit. It can be intimidating at first.
Schools and nonprofits miss opportunities to attract the right kind of sponsors for several reasons. Sometimes, they don’t seek sponsors early enough, approach the wrong companies, or simply lack a thoughtfully crafted sponsorship invite.
Luckily, all that is fixable.
Corporate sponsors can help you fund wonderful school events and program while supporting education by investing in your school. If you have been asking yourself, 'How Do I Get in Touch with Companies to Sponsor', read on as we give you some useful tips.
Define What Your Event Is About
Before you even think of which companies to get in touch with, the first and arguably most important thing to do is define the fundamentals of your event. It would be best if you had an identity for the event. It means you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What goals do you aim to achieve with that event?
- What is your vision?
There are plenty of companies willing to sponsor your event; however, you must convince them of the value of your vision and goal. Before you begin your search for ideal companies, you must be ready to persuade. Prepare so that you can clearly communicate these core factors to win over companies interested in sponsoring the event.
Even if the sponsorship weren't purely financial, not every company would be suitable. For example, if you needed to book a venue, seek out a sponsor who can either help you secure the location or provide the funds for you to book the venue.
Know Why Companies Sponsor Events
One thing you need to understand is companies DO NOT sponsor events just for the sake of it. They are there to advertise and market themselves to their clients, in this case, the attendees to your event. They have to receive some benefits.
Remember, the companies you seek have objectives in mind. They raise awareness for their products, recruit employees or new customers from your community, or generate leads for their business. Knowing this allows you to get in touch with the right companies depending on the nature of your event.
It is important to understand a company’s motive for sponsoring an event. It makes it easier to pinpoint specific companies to sponsor your event.
Look For Companies That Align With Your Event Goals
Meeting with potential event sponsors and pitching can be energy-sapping. It is therefore important to limit the number of sponsors you reach out to. You only want to pitch to sponsors who align with your event’s core goals, values, and image.
For instance, you couldn’t possibly work with a beer manufacturing company for a school event. If the event is themed around eco-friendliness, you cannot pick a company that uses plastic and other non-sustainable practices. Having the ideal companies in mind saves you time and energy.
Being picky might seem limiting, but it is important, not to invite unnecessary criticism for your school. The sponsorship is not all about money. It is a partnership, and goals from either party must align for it to be a success. If your event's vision doesn't align with the potential company's core values and vision, reaching out is a waste of time.
Look For Connections From Within
Another thing to consider is your local school community. Do you have parents who own businesses/companies? Maybe there are members of your school community who work for companies that would be open to sponsoring your event? Start local. You could even alert parents that you are actively seeking sponsors for an upcoming event. You will be amazed by the number of leads available right under your nose.
Have a list of local businesses that align with your event's core values. Remember, if you don't ask, they probably won’t approach you. The owner of your local town's largest supermarket may have studied in your school and wouldn't mind sponsoring a school event. Still, on the issue of going local, local companies would be excellent sponsorship partners. Additionally, reach out to local radio stations, print shops, zoos, parks, etc.
Don’t let this post stop you from casting your net as wide as possible. Just remember there could be big opportunities closer to home.
Start Pitching Early
As earlier mentioned, most nonprofits, schools included, should start seeking sponsors as soon as possible. If you are reaching out to big companies, starting a few months before the event is advisable. Some companies require at least 90 days to respond to your request. Others are working on a budget that requires review and approval at the start of the year. Leaving it too late may be the reason you miss out on a sponsorship.
Pro tip: Many companies’ fiscal years begin on January 1. Some companies may have to give notice well in advance of the fiscal year, while others may have a set annual budget for such requests. The sooner you get in your request, the better.
Find Companies with the Resources
Reaching out to a company is one thing. However, the company must also be in a position to sponsor the event. There are plenty of companies that would be open to sponsoring your event, but they lack the necessary resources.
To make the partnership easier, seek out companies with advertising or marketing departments as they are likely to have set aside funds for sponsorships. For starters, they need to have a sufficient budget to underwrite some of the costs. It means precious little if a company shows interest in sponsoring your event but cannot do so.
Don’t discount companies who can help with in-kind assistance. For example, if you need to secure a venue, maybe the venue’s management would consider offering sponsorship for the space. While they aren’t donating money, they are saving you the expense of securing the venue.
Company sponsorship is a multibillion-dollar industry that keeps growing every year. You certainly want a piece of the pie for your school events. The above tips are not by any means exhaustive, but they will help you find the right companies to sponsor your event. Ultimately, make the event and the sponsor experience worthy of their investments. This way, you will create meaningful connections that result in repeat sponsors and help recruit new sponsors for subsequent events.
Remember, LeanStream is your ultimate digital partner in helping you fund school initiatives through fundraisers and charitable giving. Get in touch with us today, and let us make a difference together!