Securing a sponsor can be a huge help to a nonprofit, either in just helping it to meet day-to-day expenses or expand its outreach.
There are many potential sponsors, but at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising, Shaun G. Lynch of Adventum Philanthropic Marketing said that organizations must pursue sponsors. It is not the other way around. It takes a lot of work. Lynch said that a fundraiser must target 264 prospects to get three sponsorships.
Lynch also said that to increase chances of success, a nonprofit should remember the following:
- Start with prospects with whom the organization already has a relationship. During every meeting with a prospect, ask who else might be a potential sponsor.
- Never send letters to prospective sponsors. It’s far better to make face-to-face approaches to a small number of people than to send out a large mailing.
- Be prepared to hold a lot of meetings with prospects.
- Anticipate the time needed for meetings (it will be a lot).
- Recruit and train additional people to help (again, probably a lot).
- Don’t try to sell a sponsorship or close a deal at the first meeting.
- The objective of the first meeting is to learn about the prospect’s business (not to tell the prospect about yours).
- Only when there is agreement on the nature of the sponsorship concept should there be a move toward a formal proposal.