Whether you are in a large district or a small one, having enough funds to do everything you want always seems to be a challenge. Very few districts are left wondering what to do with all their excess funds at the end of the year. Most of us are stretching those dollars as far as we can so that we can move the organization forward.
In the past, we have shared creative fundraisers with you to help you generate more funds. Today we want to share a different type of tool with you that will likely increase your fundraising without having to add any new events. You’re probably thinking this is too good to be true, but in community after community we have seen this method work to increase funds and build engagement with the organization. It’s really a simple idea, but a sponsorship packet lets everyone know what opportunities exist within your organization throughout the coming year. Having a sponsorship packet can not only increase funds but can save you time and energy throughout the course of the year.
If your organization doesn’t have something like this already, the first step may be changing how you do your planning. Creating a packet like this requires that you have all of your events planned prior to the start of the calendar (or fiscal – but calendar works better) year. Often times we start planning one event while we are in the middle of another and the minute one is done we’re onto the next. For this sponsorship packet to be truly effective, you will need to have all your opportunities available for the entire year. This doesn’t mean you need every detail of every event planned out, but you will need to have a pretty solid idea about budgets ironed out before the sponsorship packet is completed.
Once you have those sponsorship opportunities you can begin to put together your sponsorship packet. We always like to have the first couple of pages highlight the organization. You want to remind them what it is that you do and why it is important. Photos really help tell the story of your organization so you’ll want to use as many local photos as possible. Sharing data about your economic impact, committee work, and mission help to remind people that your organization is making a difference in their community.
From there you will want to list your sponsorships. While we always put ours together in chronological order, some choose to put their “premier” events at the top. As long as everything makes it into the packet, there is no right or wrong answer for how to do this.
In addition to having the sponsorships listed, you will want to list how many sponsorships as possible. Things like title sponsors, or other sponsor levels that are limited create exclusivity and become more desirable as readers go through your packet. In addition to having pictures, mixing in things like quotes and taglines help to brand your organization in this packet.
Once you have listed all your individual sponsorships, we have found that creating packages can be a way to increase sponsorships as well. Having a Visionary, or Platinum sponsors give the donors an opportunity to get a little more recognition by helping the organization a little more. You don’t need a lot of extra tiers, unless that works for your community, but having 1-3 of them will really help boost your overall income.
The last thing we do with the packet is pre-sell spots. This may seem counter-intuitive, but by having some things unavailable when the packet comes out adds a sense of urgency to the other sponsorships. Especially with your premier events, chances are you have some of the same sponsors year after year. Asking them to commit to that again is something you’re already doing. By putting it in the packet that this one is SOLD, you’ve created urgency for others to sign up for the remaining spots.
Timing is also important with this packet, as we mentioned earlier. Having this available early in the year (or even before the year begins) is another key step in making it successful. By having this in the hands of potential sponsors that early you get your ask in before many who will be asking later in the year. You also give the organization an opportunity to build their sponsorship into their budget. For example, if they would like to be a Visionary sponsor, they can pay quarterly or monthly to make the gift work within their budget. Waiting until right before your event their money may already be allocated. Getting your packet out early gives you the biggest chance for success.
In order to help you get your sponsorship packet off the ground, we have an editable (Microsoft Word) version available for you. To receive your copy fill out our form to the right and you will be emailed your template. We hope you find it useful in generating new funds for your organization.