I know that a lot of us always go back to the same event sponsors. We go back to the same deep wells of generosity. Why? Because it’s easy! They’ve already shown that they’re good and faithful supporters, and we want to renew those contributions. Hopefully we are trying to get new players in the game, but we have a tendency to go back to the same places.
Donor fatigue is real. This is especially true with the big companies that are most likely to be our lead event sponsors. At these companies there is usually just one or two people who’re responsible to meet with all of the charity officials. So, what are we going to do? How are we going to make their life easier?
We need to be become one of their favorites. We need to build the relationship and give them exactly what they need. Don’t be the appointment that inspires thoughts like “Oh, they’re coming in again. What are they going to want this time?” Instead let’s make sure you’re met with excitement. And you do that by making it easy for them.
I recommend you meet with your corporate sponsors just once a year, and at that meeting you outline your plans for the entire year. So, in a way, you present them with a menu of giving opportunities. You outline exactly what your major events are, what you need, and how they can help. This menu has all of the sponsorship options for each of your events listed. Maybe they want a table here, a foursome there, whatever the case may be let them do it all at once. Make it EASY. They can do it all in one payment or they can spread out their payments throughout the year.
Besides an easy and pleasant meeting, what else do our major sponsors want? What are we giving them in return? You should come up with some year round recognition opportunities for them. They don’t just want one day or night of recognition, they want to be able to show that they are a corporate supporter of X, Y, Z non profit. They really want that ongoing engagement and ongoing branding. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but the ongoing throughout-the-year rather than just one night recognition is really powerful with them. So consider that when you’re creating the recognition opportunities on your sponsorship menu.
You know, why don’t you just ask your corporate sponsors if they might like this approach? Right now. Pull up your email and ask your top five sponsors: “We’re thinking about going to a once a year event sponsorship request where we would outline all the opportunities for the year and just meet with you one time. What do you think about that?” I guarantee you you are going to get two or three responses right away that say “Oh, that sounds incredible. I have so many meetings I have to do. We love you guys, but if we could streamline things that would be wonderful.” Guess what? That’s a great way to show some #donorlove. It really shows that you care about what your donors think and you’re trying to make their lives easier. That makes this a true win-win.
Check out our free resource — a Sponsorship Menu Template. It’s a pretty simple item, but it gives you a sense of how to get started and maybe streamline your efforts to create one of your own!