Why should a company want to sponsor one of my events?
Companies use sponsorship for many reasons. When speaking to a potential sponsor, you should tell them that a WestBridge Recovery Opportunity Fund Sponsorship would fulfill some of company objectives like the following:
Heightening visibility and brand exposure: Visibility is often the first reason that companies sponsor events. Events provide the opportunity for exposure through print media, signage, brochure recognition, etc.
Narrow casting: Sponsorship gives companies an opportunity to reach a niche market.
Showcasing product attributes: Sponsorship allows companies to showcase product benefits through exhibit displays.
Corporate Responsibility: Sponsorship shows that company’s care about the local community in which they are located by making a “social investment” to a cause that is close to the community’s heart.
How do I approach a company to sponsor one of my events?
You should speak with the prospective sponsor and also give them a written proposal. The written proposal with have the following elements in it, and these will also be your “talking points” when speaking to the contact at the company.
The offer letter will include the following items, (always include a WestBridge annual report for basic info about us):
Background: Give the background of the project or event, how many people will attend, dates and locations, and purpose.
Offer/proposal: Propose that the sponsor give a certain dollar amount and receive certain types of recognition in return.
Key benefits: List the anticipated benefits available to the sponsor. These benefits include creating increased visibility, demonstrating leadership in supporting the needs of the community, and enhancing credibility as an organization dedicated to excellence.
Implementation/call to action: Give the potential sponsor a deadline for making decisions and state again when the project/event is scheduled to take place. Also include your contact name and number so you can answer any questions.
Who should I contact in the first place?
The easiest and most logical way to begin is to prospect for sponsors.
Look at current advertisers in your local publications: Look at newspapers, local newsletters, magazines etc., to see which organizations are advertising and doing sponsorships. These companies obviously have an interest in getting their message out. Do not stop at targeting these organizations, but target their competitors as well. Do not forget about online resources in your search for prospective sponsors
A phone call or meeting is better than a letter or mass mailing: When you make the phone call, always start at the top person you can find —working your way down is much easier than working your way up. Remember that there are many different departments that can benefit from sponsorship. Don’t restrict yourself to one department. If we are targeting a small company, talk to the owner or general manager.
Wait for the right moment: When you reach the correct person, don’t launch right into a sales pitch. Rather, ask the person several questions about the company that will indicate to you whether or not the company is a viable sponsor for your event. Questions could be “Based on what I have read on your company, it appears (fill in the blank with your knowledge). Is that true? Are you interested in maintaining/increasing your visibility?” Make sure you ask questions that can be answered with a yes.
Close the deal: At some point toward the end of the presentation, ask, “Can we count on you to be our sponsor this year?”
Should I do this event all by myself?
Because solicitation of sponsors, finding and coordinating the right venue for an event, advertising, setting up/tearing down, etc., involves significant time both in planning and implementation, you should establish a Committee for the event. It is always easier to get a workload accomplished when there are more “hands on board”.
The size of the committee will depend on your needs, but the basic rule of thumb is, “the more the merrier”. That way people can feel involved in helping with a good cause, AND they will attend your event, so you will have guaranteed attendance! The chair of the committee (you) will administer the plan and serve as the liaison to WestBridge's development department with Fundraising questions. You will want people on your committee that would be aggressive enough to solicit new sponsors and conscientious enough to follow through on what is promised to the sponsor. You will want people with organizational skills. You will want to schedule meetings of the committee, and track the progress of the committee members that have been assigned tasks, etc. It very important to identify energetic and enthusiastic people to serve on the committee.
Where should potential event attendees and/or sponsors go for more information about WESTBRIDGE?
Always refer people to our website: http://www.westbridge.org. That is where people can find additional information about WestBridge and the programs they are supporting.