Most nonprofit organizations need advertising or publicity at some point in their operations. For-profit companies, particularly small businesses, might also need help in publicizing a community event or not-for-profit project. With the budgetary constraints nonprofit organizations and events face, it’s difficult for them to purchase the media coverage they require. In these situations, finding a company to sponsor the media coverage solves the problem, while giving the sponsor significant benefits too, such as boosting its corporate social responsibility program or, in the case of registered charities, securing tax deductions.

Identify Sponsors

Media sponsorship can take place in several ways. Common methods include supplying cash funding to cover the costs, or offering in-kind donation of products or services provided by the company. Identify potential sponsors by searching for companies that have an interest or involvement in the proposed cause, or companies whose business aligns with your media needs. For example, a printing company could provide free printing of your material; alternatively, a school stationery company might support school-age literacy training, which enables it to give back to its target market and gain exposure for the business.

Plan Your Campaign

Before approaching companies with a request for sponsorship, compile a detailed media campaign plan to present to them. Identify the goals you want to achieve with the campaign, the target audience for your message, the key messages and the media channels that will best reach your market. Include your proposed timeline in your plan, as well as the projected cost of the campaign. Provide details to show how and where the funds will be spent, if your media sponsor provides cash sponsorship. Indicate the methods you will use to monitor the success or failure of the campaign.

Submit Proposals

Write a letter outlining your proposal and personalize it for each potential sponsor. Keep the letter short and attach a copy of the campaign plan for readers to review. List clearly what you need in terms of money and support, as well as sponsorship benefits you are offering in exchange. If possible, calculate the financial value of the benefits and include this information in the proposal. Provide details of your company or organization, the history of the event or cause and the potential value to the community if it succeeds. References from previous sponsors attesting to your responsible handling of funds will also help.

Agree in Writing

Once you secure a media sponsor, draft an agreement detailing the terms and conditions of the sponsorship and have it reviewed by a lawyer. This prevents misunderstandings between the sponsor and recipients and provides recourse in case of litigation. It includes information about the sponsor’s cash or in-kind donation, the date by which it is provided and the agreed returns for the sponsor. It should also include the reporting expected by the sponsor and the date by which this must be submitted. If applicable, the agreement should specify whether or not the recipient is responsible for insurance of any shared resources.