Having trouble getting your donors to buy tables for your fundraising event? Here are some other sponsorship opportunities you can promote instead.
Raising money for your non-profit organization before your event starts is about more than just selling tables. Not every possible donor will want to buy a table they have to fill, and selling tables means you can’t qualify who is at your event. Instead, give your sponsors a choice on how they support your fundraising event. They can choose the option that aligns with their values, goals, and budget rather than deciding whether to buy a table or not.
18 Underwriting Ideas for Your Next Event
Allow your sponsors to underwrite tangible and enjoyable aspects of your event. It allows their contribution to be more visual, which boosts their brand recognition. It gives you the benefit of being able to raise more money before your event even starts. Here are some underwriting ideas that the non-profits we work with offer their sponsors:
This makes it easy to secure underwriting because you can give sponsors access to the list of options, and they can choose the best fit for them. The Red Carpet is a prevalent option with sponsors because their organization’s logo is on the backdrop for all the Red-Carpet photos that all event attendees will take home, so make sure you aren’t just giving away ample sponsorship opportunities like that.
Benefits of Alternative Sponsorship Opportunities
The alternative sponsorship opportunities are simply easier to sell. For example, when you sell a table at your event, it requires your sponsor to be in town on the date of the event, and they need to be able to find enough people to fill a table.
When you present your donors with these sponsorship opportunities, they can underwrite your non-profit event even if they have a prior commitment to the event date. They also don’t have to find a certain number of people to attend the event with them, which can be difficult if many of your donors are in the same network.
It is also a lot easier to get donors excited about sponsoring something that fits with their business. For example, we’ve seen non-profit events where liquor distributors underwrite the bar at an event. We’ve also seen events where a plumber sponsors the Refreshing Stations (the bathrooms.) Allowing your sponsors to pick something that aligns with their business means they are often willing to spend more money than they would on a table.
How to Sell These Underwriting Opportunities
It is as simple as sending an email with a link to the list of sponsorship opportunities and their prices. HGAFundraising has auction software that will update the list to show the opportunities sold so that the availability is kept up to date, which is great for two reasons:
1. You won’t overbook an opportunity.
2. It offers social proof that other donors are eager to sponsor these aspects of your fundraising event.
There is still the aspect of negotiation here. Once a donor has agreed to underwrite an element of your event, they may ask, “What is included with this?”
Specifically, they may want to know how many tickets they will get to the event. Make sure the number of tickets matches the price they are paying for their sponsorship. For example, if a table of ten is $150 per head, they won’t get a table if they only sponsor something worth $1,000. If they want a table, they’ll need to pay a little bit more. We’ve seen some non-profit organizations offer the tickets and tables separately from the sponsorship as well, so the choice is yours.
You can also negotiate on how public they want their sponsorship to be. Businesses and business owners will have different preferences. Some may want to be anonymous donors because they don’t like being in the limelight. Some may just want their logo and name attached to the event aspect they are sponsoring and be thanked at the event and on social media as donors. You may even have some businesses that want a big fuss made over their sponsorship. You can negotiate those aspects and even sell them as add-ons if you wish.
One event we attended made a huge deal of one of their sponsors - They broke out the champagne, and the non-profit staff and event organizers went over to their table to pour glasses of Don Perignon. Naturally, this created a buzz, and people were very intrigued when they made the announcement to thank the sponsor for their large donation.
In addition to sending your connections a list to choose from, you could also pitch specific sponsorship opportunities that you think would be a good fit for a particular business or person. The examples we gave before of the liquor distributor sponsoring the bar and the plumber sponsoring the Refreshing Stations are great examples. Sometimes an opportunity is such a perfect fit, so why not pitch it to them?
Your donor will feel honored that you thought of them for the sponsorship opportunity if you present it in the right way. You could skip the emails or phone calls and just text them about the opportunity.
Our event is on November 4th, and I wanted to give you an early shot at the best sponsorship opportunity. Here’s what’s available…
It feels personal and like you specifically want them to sponsor your charity event rather than just finding anyone to sponsor it.
Want to Learn More About How to Maximize Your Pre-Event Fundraising?
Our co-founders, Jason Ledlow & Trevor Nelson, discuss fundraising event sponsorship opportunities at length in Episode 83 of our free webinar series for non-profits. Listen or watch the episode for more examples of sponsorship opportunities you can offer and tips on how to present these opportunities to your donors.
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