How to get corporate sponsorship for a charity event
Corporate Social Responsibility is big business. According to a report from CAF, FTSE 100 companies donate an average of 2.4% of pre-tax profit every year. They also volunteer their time; new research from Accenture shows that 70% of the same companies offer Employer-Supported Volunteering (ECV) programmes.
With companies increasingly aware of the benefits of CSR and ploughing more resources into their efforts, there are more opportunities for charities to benefit. One of these is to get sponsorship for a charity event – here’s why it’s so important, and how to go about it.
What is an event sponsor?
A sponsor is a company that donates money, time, or other resources to a charitable organisation to help them run a fundraising event or meet a fundraising target. By offering their support, the company is associating themselves with your cause, bolstering their CSR efforts, and increasing their exposure to potential target audiences (as if part of their own marketing campaign).
And there are multiple ways a company can support your charity event, including:
- Offering a one-off donation
- Pledging to match donations made at your event
- Providing resources to support your event (for example, a venue, advertising, or equipment)
- Offering company volunteers
- Donating products or services to raise money
How to get sponsors for a charity event
Set sponsorship levels
Before reaching out to companies, it’s worth defining the different levels of sponsorship that your charity is looking for. It could be on a gold, silver, and bronze basis as follows:
- Gold sponsorship – The sponsor’s name will be part of the official event’s name, and will be given prominence alongside its logo on all printed and virtual collateral related to the event (invitations, adverts, brochures, flyers, websites, social media).
- Silver membership – The sponsor’s name and logo will be stated in the official event’s program, included on backdrop banners, and recognised in all PR releases.
- Bronze membership – The sponsor’s name and logo will feature in printed collateral, PR releases, and on the ‘sponsors’ page of the event website.
There are two main benefits to using a tiered sponsorship model like this. The first is that it gives you more structure and will make negotiating a lot easier later on. The second is that it increases the chances of gaining one or more sponsors; with varying levels of sponsorship (and equivalent buy-ins), it appeals to both smaller and larger companies with different budgets for CSR activities.
Define your ideal sponsor
It can be tempting to reach out to as many companies as possible in order to get sponsors, but it’s not particularly efficient. Far more effective is establishing a target sponsor with a limited set of characteristics. Here are the main considerations:
- Do they share the same audience? – If your event is geared towards a particular demographic, it makes sense to approach companies which have a similar client-base. If your event is family-orientated, for instance, companies that offer services or products primarily to families would be the most likely to offer sponsorship.
- What’s their size and CSR budget? – Be realistic with which companies are likely to offer sponsorship. The size of your charity and the publicity your event is likely to generate will be factors for corporations when deciding whether to offer support. Check out their websites to get an idea of their current CSR efforts, and look up their annual statement to see how much they spend (*although not every company actually publishes this!).
- Do they share your charity’s values? – Most importantly, make sure that your charity’s values and cause align (or simply aren’t in conflict) with those of any potential sponsor. An association with a sponsor that has acted against your organisation’s values is harmful – do your research before reaching out!
After you’ve laid the foundations, it’s time to contact the corporations. In your introductions be sure to outline what your charity does, what your plans are for the event, and what you’re looking for in terms of sponsorship. If their interest is piqued, it’s time to follow up with hard facts and figures – show them the success of your previous events, and how your former sponsors gained from them. Where possible, use past event data in your presentations (how many people attended? How much did they spend?) – this will help marketing and CSR professionals justify their budgets. In the end, a CSR negotiation is very much a win-win situation – charities are looking to raise funds, and companies are looking to demonstrate their values. When making a pitch to them, play to their goals and show how your event will help in achieving them.
If you’re organising a charity event, consider using contactless donation technology. GoodBox’s tap-to-give terminals lead the trend towards a cashless society and offer charities the chance to collect, track, and analyse donations in a safe and GDPR-compliant way. It even helps to boost Gift Aid donations. If you want to join organisations like The Natural History Museum and The Church of England in taking a more data-centric approach to fundraising, get in touch with the GoodBox team today.