Whether you are organizing a large charity event or starting a racing season in your favorite sport, cash sponsorship is often necessary in order to cover your expenses. One of the important things to keep in mind when approaching potential sponsors is to gear your presentation to what they will get out of helping you. Most sponsors do want to be helpful, but they also want their business to be known for giving that help.
Determine your financial goal. Write down all of the expenses you need covered and what items can be covered by in-kind contributions. For example, instead of money from a caterer, they could provide the food in exchange for signs promoting their business.
Make up packages that a company could sign up for. You could have gold-, silver- and bronze-level sponsorships for different monetary amounts. Each could include a certain amount of signs at events, seating at the event, mentions in a program or newsletter, and acknowledgement on your website.
Present your sponsorship packages to each business, and explain what they get out if it. Most businesses, especially large ones, are solicited often for sponsorship dollars. Make sure they know what they are getting out of it. For example, point out the tax write-offs, publicity for the business, the boost to employee morale and any other benefits you can give. A race-car driver might be able to offer employees rides around the track as well as premium seating at events or an appearance at the company picnic.
Be open to all ideas presented by the sponsor. Remember that without the sponsor, you wouldn't be able to put on your event or get to your race. It's important to respond in kind by coming to a meeting or talking about its product in a radio interview.
Market your event thoroughly, highlighting your sponsors and their contributions. Utilize your website and social media, talk the event up to your family and friends, and ask local media to cover the event.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.