How to Secure Sponsors for Your Fundraising Event

Foote_securing sponsors July 14, 2023 By: Logan Foote

Associations rely on fundraising events as value-generating programs for their members. Learn how to secure sponsors for them and boost your revenue.

As an association leader, you’re charged with finding nondues revenue to keep your organization functioning and providing valuable services to your members. Fundraising events are a great option, but you need sponsors to maximize the event’s profits. When done correctly, these sponsorships are beneficial to your association as well as the sponsor’s brand, making a partnership mutually advantageous. What’s more, your association likely has vast connections to the for-profit sector, which can be leveraged as potential sponsors.

If you’re new to creating, selling, and managing sponsorships for a fundraising event, it might feel overwhelming. Read on for useful tips to securing sponsorships for your association’s next fundraising event.

Identify Sponsorship Goals

Think through what you hope to achieve with sponsorships for the event and what role they’ll play in its overall financial success. To help formulate your overall sponsorships strategy, start by asking yourself: 

  • What is your fundraising revenue goal?
  • What hard costs can sponsorships cover?
  • Will the event be in-person, virtual, or hybrid?
  • How many people do we want to attend?
  • How much will we charge people to participate?
  • What fun event components would be attractive to sponsors?
  • How can I maximize ROI for potential sponsors? 

Research Potential Sponsors

Gather your planning team together and brainstorm a list of potential sponsors. These could be association vendors or partners, local businesses, or even regional or national companies. Your local chamber details about the types of events they tend to sponsor or participate in on social media or their website. GolfStatus recommends pursuing sponsors with a similar target audience as your association. For instance, if your association serves nonprofit professionals, look at fundraising software, nonprofit consultants, nonprofit marketing agencies, and others that cater to your audience.

Develop Sponsorship Packages

Start by thinking through your event’s hard costs and how you can cover those with sponsorships to boost your fundraising. While top dollar sponsorships are necessary and beneficial, be sure to create a variety of sponsorship packages that are tailored to different sponsor budgets, and don’t forget the power of in-kind donations. Each package should outline the benefits the sponsor will receive for their support, such as exclusive branding opportunities, digital exposure through a technology sponsorship, data about the association’s target audience or members, tax benefits, or complimentary registrations. 

Create a Sponsorship Pitch

Your pitch to businesses should effectively communicate your event’s unique value proposition and how a sponsorship is a win-win partnership with a trustworthy association that fosters thought leadership. Outline the event’s basic details, such as location, format, and special activities, plus the sponsorship options and each package’s benefits. You might also include specific demographics about the event’s target audience that certain sponsors would find appealing. Finally, explain how the company stands to benefit from a sponsorship, beyond just brand exposure. Be sure to include tangible examples of impact in the sponsorship package. Double the Donation states that 77 percent of consumers prefer to buy from businesses that actively strive to make their community a better place and 88 percent want to know about a business’ corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Show Your Appreciation and Follow Up

As soon as a sponsor commits to your event, they should start receiving promised benefits. Add their logo to any appropriate websites or email campaigns, give them a shout out on social media, and send a note or email or give them a quick phone call to express your thanks. You could organize a pre-event sponsor appreciation reception for your staff to better connect with sponsors or provide branded association merchandise. After the event, follow up and help them better understand the tangible impact their support made. Perhaps the support of the title sponsor of your charity golf tournament made it possible for your association to recruit and onboard 100 new members. 

Strengthen Sponsor Relationships

Your fundraising event can be just the beginning of a broader sponsor relationship. Strengthen these partnerships after the event through regular communication—check in phone calls or emails, invitations to association events, or even informal chats over coffee. Keep tabs on their business and personal milestones and achievements and offer your congratulations. These simple steps will help lay the foundation for future support.

Businesses have a lot to gain by sponsoring your association’s fundraising event. Beyond recognition and exposure to potential clients and customers, companies that practice corporate philanthropy gain positive brand lift and awareness that impacts employee satisfaction and community relations. Remember, you’ve already confidently fundraised in the past, so leverage that experience to build relationships and sell sponsorships.

Logan Foote

Logan Foote is sales and education director at GolfStatus, where he works with nonprofit clients to maximize their golf fundraisers.