If you've ever been part of a charity fundraising event, you know they can be costly. Sponsorships are a great way to offset expenses, give local businesses and individuals the chance to promote their brand, and build relationships.
Recently we've looked at best practices to create a sponsorship strategy, write proposal letters and follow up with potential sponsors (see below).
After all the hard work you've done to obtain sponsorships, today we'll conclude our sponsorship miniseries by discussing how to retain sponsors.
How successful is your organization at netting satisfied returning sponsors? Check out 3 simple post-event opportunities that leave a great impression with sponsors - come next year, you'll be glad you did!
1. Send an event summary and thank you letters
When the event is said and done, sponsors want to know how it went and, more importantly, how their company’s brand was positively impacted.
Send all sponsors a final thank-you letter summarizing the night’s fundraising and attendance results, plus how many media hits, impressions and views their logos received during pre-event promotion.
If applicable, let them know specifically what aspect of the event was made possible by their donation: "Your underwriting of an incredible 4-night getaway to Maui allowed our organization to receive 100% of the winning bid from long-time donors Mr. and Mrs. Smith."
Take pictures of signage or collateral featuring their logos, then send along or feature online. Bonus points if you can get pictures of people looking at, interacting with or using these items!
2. Brainstorm free post-event promotional opportunities
At the conclusion of a big fundraiser, the focus of event organizers tends to shift to administrative tasks like final bookkeeping and accounting, following up with winning bidders, updating the auction binder and more. So it's understandable that post-event promotion falls to the bottom of the to-do list.
Fortunately there are a variety of simple ways to continue increasing awareness of your nonprofit after the event, plus show your sponsors more love (and nudge supporters on the fence about donating).
First, try writing a press release that publicizes the results of your event and prominently mentions your biggest sponsors. This elevates your event's status and credibility, and may inspire other businesses in the communty to support your next event knowing they'll get such positive press. You can also create a summary video for YouTube using video clips from the event, which will be a key marketing piece next year.
Post pictures from the event on the event website and Facebook page. Sponsors and attendees will want to relive the night, tag themselves and their friends, and hopefully "Like" your page to stay connected. Consider including your major sponsors' logos in a photo watermark, and thanking sponsors for their contributions on social media.
The more additional shout-outs you can provide, the better. You'll not only capitalize on event momentum but have more concrete marketing examples to entice potential sponsors.
3. Debrief the process with your team
Finally, schedule a meeting with your sponsorship acquisition team to debrief together. Some questions you might cover:
→ Read more: Importance of Debriefing with Your Auction Committee
- Overall, what worked well?
- What methods of contacting sponsors (letters, emails, phone calls, in-person meetings) were most successful?
- What types of local businesses, individuals and brands were a natural fit for the event?
- Which sponsors were most and least satisfied, and why?
- Were any rewards left unfulfilled? What do you need to do to fulfill or substitute with an equivalent incentive?
- Which rewards were most exciting to sponsors, or reached the greatest audience?
- Who expressed interest in sponsoring again?
Take careful notes and save in your auction binder or checklist. Now you've got a great head start for next year's sponsorship enrollment process.