By: Melissa Lagowski
Big Buzz Idea Group
Nonprofits are constantly looking for new ways to grow their revenues and create additional reliable revenue streams. Sponsorship is often overlooked or deemed to be difficult and time-consuming, but it is a great way to secure additional funding. To date, we have helped clients secure more than $6 million in sponsorship, so we know it works when done properly – and we can help you find ways to generate more dollars.
We have previously shared tips on how to organically find sponsors, and we want to share five additional ways to generate sponsorship leads:
Ask Your Volunteers for Referrals
Nonprofits often tap their Board of Directors for potential sponsor leads, which is prudent and logical, but mistakenly overlook their pool of volunteers. Those passionate people who give their time to a nonprofit may have connections that could help secure new financial resources, so be sure to solicit at volunteer trainings and orientations. Share a bit about the great work your organization is doing and let your supporters know that you are looking for new sponsors and explain what the funding will be used for once secured. This will instantly and strategically provide you with many additional advocates who can share your story and your needs far and wide in the hopes that you will reach your goals sooner.
Invest time in getting to know your volunteers because one could be a businessowner who will support your cause. Or perhaps a volunteer’s company has a charitable giving program. Maybe their neighbor, parent or sibling works at a company that you‘ve been hoping to connect with because they align with your mission. Volunteers can help open doors if they are asked.
Connectors in Your Network
Some people are born connectors. You know the type: they’ve “got a guy” for everything, and they seem to know everyone in your network and plenty of others. Schedule some time with the connectors in your circle. Let them know what you are trying to accomplish and why, and then ask them to introduce you to anyone that could help. You still have to do your own selling to all these warm leads but having help in getting a foot in the door with a new contact from a shared connection can be a gamechanger.
Anyone who does sales for a living is likely to be a good referral source because they will have a powerful network. Bankers, insurance representatives, real estate agents and mortgage brokers generally meet new people constantly since they are forced to network to find new business. Meeting with these folks once or twice each year to update them about the needs and goals of your nonprofit could prove fruitful. And if a particularly strong advocate for your organization is found through this referral process, be sure to recognize and reward those who helped you achieve your goals. Something as simple as a thank you note or a small gift card can show appreciation and strengthen those relationships, ensuring that you’ll always be top of mind when they’re scouting at the next networking event.
You could also read “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann to understand how important the concept of reciprocal introductions can be in creating long-lasting business relationships.
Look at Similar Organizations
Research similar NPOs in other parts of the country and note the types of businesses that are sponsoring them. While this may jumpstart your creative juices to remember contacts in your network or in the community that you hadn’t thought to ask, some of those companies may have franchises or branches nearby where you can reach out to foster a new relationship.
Experiential Marketing Companies
Some of the larger corporations hire marketing agencies who determine what programs the company invests in. It is the job of experiential marketers to determine which events or charities will align best for their client’s goals. Visit the websites of the experiential marketing agencies in your city. Most of them list their clients on their website, so you can peruse the list to see if any of them align with your mission. If they do, then reach out to the agency representative for that account.
We hope that these ideas will help generate more potential sponsors to support the growth of your nonprofit. And as you work to grow your sponsorship, you must continue cultivating your sponsor relationships so your nonprofit or association will have ongoing support for years to come.