It can be difficult to raise funds for events, especially in today's economic climate. Here are a few tips from professional fundraisers to increase your chances for success and help make this important task less daunting.
- Go where you know. Start with past sponsors and supporters who know you and know your organization. Call upon your planning committee, leadership and staff to suggest individuals and organizations they know. If members of your planning committee have experience in fundraising and/or contacts with potential sponsors, put them to work!
- Recognize that sponsorship is a two-way street. Many corporate and retail entities have philanthropic goals and are often motivated by the good publicity that comes from supporting a cause in their community. During lean economic times, funds become scarce, causing many organizations to limit sponsorship to those opportunities that tightly align with very specific objectives and provide highly visible marketing opportunities.
- Do your research before you pitch a prospective sponsor. You want to be able to clearly show that you share a mission and goals with a potential funder.
- Think in terms of "benefits." What is the return the sponsor can expect to receive on their investment? Visibility in the community? In the media? Reaching potential new customers? Be explicit. Consider creating a sponsorship flier or presentation that outlines specific benefits by sponsorship amount, giving everyone from individuals to small businesses to large corporations the ability to contribute something.
- Don't underestimate in-kind donations. Donations such as food, equipment, supplies and raffle items are equally important to helping you meet your fundraising goals and keeping event costs down.
See a sample sponsorship letter.
Vendors: An Untapped Resource. Are you planning to have vendor tables offering information about health-related resources and services at your Baby Buggy Walk in the Park? Consider charging a nominal fee or asking for in-kind sponsorships (such as raffle prizes or snacks) to help offset some of your costs. Vendors are often interested in potential opportunities for marketing and visibility (even the nonprofits), so make sure to link their sponsorship with recognition. For example, allow them to include their logo on a goodie bag or when announcing raffle winners, mention that "This prize was generously donated by XYZ Vendor."Up next…promoting your Baby Buggy Walk in the Park.
Office of Minority Health Resource Center