The importance of alternative ways of raising funds cannot be understated, especially with schools continually facing uncertainty in budgeting. Fundraising helps schools raise money to provide students with laptops, fund the school sports team, buy school supplies and classroom materials as well as playground equipment, just to name a few. Sometimes, teachers are forced to fund these expenses from their own pocket which is obviously far from ideal.
Getting corporations to sponsor you is one way to plug the financial gap. Global sponsorship spending continues to increase by the year. Companies are increasingly sponsoring events, charities, and schools. Having a company sponsor your program increases its credibility and also creates a connection and potentially a lasting partnership. Perhaps more importantly, corporate sponsorships can lead to more successful fundraising efforts.
However, getting a company to sponsor you is a challenge for many schools. It requires a bit of work, networking, and good old luck. Which begs the question: How do you ask a company to sponsor you?
Read on as we give you tips on how to successfully approach companies and have them agree to sponsor your school.
Choose the Right Companies
There are plenty of companies that have the money and influence. However, that doesn’t mean that they would make excellent partners for your school. A beer company, for instance, would be the wrong choice. If you have an event that is based around veganism, partnering with an animal butchery would be an unfavorable choice.
To avoid asking the wrong company for sponsorship, do your research. Make sure you know as much about the company as possible before approaching them for sponsorship. Only approach the ones that align with the values of your school.
Have Something to Offer
Ideally, you want the corporate sponsorship to stand the test of time. This cannot happen if all you do is take and take without giving something back. Keep in mind that sponsorship is NOT free money. If a company is sponsoring your cause, they expect something in return. Make sure you give the company enough reasons to sponsor you.
If you are seeking a sponsorship for a sporting event, a gym or a company that specializes in sports equipment would be ideal. This would allow them to market themselves to your audience. Keep in mind that it is all about the company. After all, it is their money, marketing goals, and reputation on the line. If they have something to gain from sponsoring you, they will be eager to listen to your request.
Have a Compelling Proposal
If you are targeting a big company, chances are they have received a thousand and one requests for sponsorship. How do you separate yourself from the herd? Why would that company choose to sponsor your cause and not the rest?
Besides offering them something in return, you must have a winning pitch. You have to make it clear why the company should consider sponsoring you. Clearly describe your audience, mission, mutual benefits, and hard facts to back up your claims. You can reference past successful events and how they benefited your corporate sponsors. Additionally, let the company know exactly how their funds will be used.
When sending in your request, make sure you do so by email. Additionally, be brief. Avoid words like ‘if you can’ or ‘maybe’. While at it, don’t forget to request a meeting with the appropriate employee which may be a manager, director, or the company’s advertising and marketing representatives.
No Last Minute Rush
Time is always an important factor in determining how successful your sponsorship proposal to a company will be. If your event is on the 20th and you send an email on the 1st, excluding weekends, it gives the company roughly two weeks to review and approve your proposal. That is too short a timeline. Many companies will immediately turn down your request for that reason.
You have been planning the event for some time. Send in your proposal early enough to give the company ample time to gather the funds and make the necessary arrangements. The more time you give them, the likelier your proposal will be successful.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Money
Sponsorships come in different shades. If it is money you need, don’t beat around the bush. Be straightforward in your request. Don’t ask for promotional sponsorship if you are looking for financial sponsorship. It is also advisable to be honest about the amount of money you need. Don’t sell yourself short. The company may not be in a position to give you the money you need, but you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t ask, would you? Remember you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. If you needed $50,000 but only requested $3,000, you will only have yourself to blame if that’s the only amount you get.
Your school is a busy place. You probably have a very busy schedule. Naturally, the company you requested for sponsorship is also a pretty busy place. While a few days without hearing from them is no reason to panic, radio silence that extends a few weeks is certainly a reason for concern.
A company may have plenty of reasons not to reply to your email. For purposes of discussion, let’s say it landed in the spam filter. Maybe it got lost or wasn’t directed to the relevant party.
This is exactly why you should send another email. Find ways of contacting the company, introduce yourself and why you are calling, and enquire about your sponsorship request. This way, you will know where you stand and hopefully get the right response.
Getting a big company to sponsor your school may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The above tips will go a long way towards helping you ask a company to sponsor you. All you need is a little legwork, the right approach, and most importantly, the ideal company. Carefully select potential companies, have a winning pitch and don't be afraid to ask for help. Here is to wishing you a successful hunt for the right sponsorship.
Remember at LeanStream, we pride ourselves in being your ultimate fundraising partner. We provide you with online fundraising, e-commerce, fees management, and donor engagement solutions. Get in touch today and learn more about our fundraising solutions.