Corporate sponsorship is a partnership opportunity that benefits both businesses and charities alike.
As a charity, attracting the sponsorship of local businesses through a monthly or annual giving program will help build future income and contribute to sustainability.
For a business, the opportunity to align with a charity can achieve the following:
- Promote social responsibility
- Provide access to a new audience
- Motivate employees
- Build public credibility
- Attract new customers to the brand
- Give a point of difference to direct competitors
- Create awareness about products and services
- Build an emotional relationship between customers and the company
With businesses seeking out opportunities to align with charities, designing and implementing a structured corporate sponsorship program is in the interests of all charities.
With competition rife, read our tips on how to attract corporate sponsors into a charity.
Direct mail campaign to businesses in the area
While email marketing is faster and offers a higher ROI, direct mail is far from dead. A well-crafted sales letter can peak the attention of local business owners looking to boost their giving.
Assign an office volunteer the task of researching local or appropriate businesses and compile a database of anyone who meets the criteria. Include names or relevant personnel, postal addresses, email address and telephone numbers.
Your communication strategy can include a cold letter followed by a follow-up call to introduce yourself, you can even email to touch base two to three months later.
Rarely does someone say yes when asked for support the first time. Use publicly available data to create a structured strategy that you can build on into the future.
Be persistent! Not getting a reply straight away may indicate they’re still doing research or have put the request to the bottom of the to-do list. No response isn’t a no!
Hold a networking event and invite local business owners and personnel. This will help showcase your need for support while promoting their business by giving the opportunity to meet with other local business owners.
While you may not receive sponsorship as a direct result from the event, it provides a strong opportunity to start building organic relationships. Provide a lucky door prize and encourage attendees to leave a business card to enter the draw. This information should be uploaded straight on the database and added to the potential corporate sponsor communication plan.
If you don’t hold your own networking events, attend those hosted by other businesses or organisations such as local Chamber of Commerce. Even if attending doesn’t directly lead to sponsorship, this is an excellent opportunity to spread the word about the charity’s mission.
Use board connections
Each member of the board has been chosen because of their unique skill set and experience. With this, comes valuable corporate connections who may be able to support your cause.
Ask your board if they can recommend anyone who may be interested in becoming a corporate partner and present them with the corporate sponsorship program highlighting the benefits to donors.
Design a structured program to meet set KPIs
With all donors, but particularly corporates who have their own financial team to appease, it’s important that expectations are outlined from the beginning and not left to guesswork.
To appear professional, outline the inclusions for each sponsor. We recommend having three tiers in the program (such as gold, silver and bronze) to give the business a choice at which level to donate. Having this dollar figure in mind will help set targets of how many sponsors you need to onboard to meet targets.
Inclusions may incorporate the following:
- Invitations to networking events
- Commemorative plaque on buildings
- Social media recognition
- Company name in the annual review
- Signage on machinery or equipment
- Welcome pack including a small gift on sign up
Gifts may be made monthly or annually, and the sponsorship agreement should be formalised by sending a thank you letter after the first pledge with details of what the donor will provide and when.
Add the donors to relevant communication lists including newsletters and special notices but check with them before sending them the general appeal letter. Doubling up on appeals may cause offence if you fail to acknowledge their company giving.
We highly recommend a structured program for you to approach a corporate sponsor with but be open to tailoring an option to suit the unique needs of the business.
While you must appear like you have a system in place, you should also be flexible to show potential corporate partners that you value their contribution made in a way that suits them.
Stay in touch and meet obligations
If a corporate sponsor agrees to give monthly or annually, you must keep the lines of communication open as you would with any other donor.
Regularly call into the office for an informal catch up to build relationships organically. Make sure any concerns are addressed if the donor provides recommendations or feedback on operations. Share social media posts to show you support the corporate partners as much as they support you. One of the benefits of their giving is increased exposure among a new audience and you must adhere to that.
Corporate sponsorship is a mutually beneficial program that can build both charities and local businesses to create stronger communities.
To find out how SupporterHub can use data to create a structured communication strategy to attract more corporate partners to a charity, contact us today.