One of the best ways to offset the cost of printing your charity auction catalog, as well as many other elements of your fundraising event, is to get corporate and/or individual sponsors to underwrite different parts of the event in return for recognition in the catalog.
First, it's important to note that there is a slight difference between "sponsorship" and "underwriting", even though the terms are often used interchangeably:
- Underwriting: A donor pays for either all or a portion of an event expense directly. Almost any aspect of an event can be underwritten. An example would be finding a print vendor to pay for ALL printed materials, including banners, tickets, this catalog, forms, invitations, etc. Other sponsorship opportunities include a menu item, like dessert, or other aspects of the event like the centerpieces, the band or the booze.
- Sponsorship: A donor buys into a sponsorship package offered by the Nonprofit with the funds going directly to the organization to help offset event expenses. Examples include sponsoring a table for 10 or a "presenting sponsorship" where a donor would pay to sponsor - say - the live auction so it would read "The 2015 Live Auctrion, presented by XYZ".
In either case, your objective is to defray the costs or expenses of your event by offering donors various incentives - such as verbal recognition or putting a company's logo on event banners or other printed material. You can offer a range of sponsorship and underwriting opportunities, each with its own level of benefits.
[FREE TEMPLATE] Download the pre-designed 100% customizable Microsoft Word auction catalog template.
One of the best places to offer potential sponsors some exposure during your event is in your auction catalog. If you haven't already, check out our professionally designed 100% customizable Microsoft Word auction catalog template, which includes space for you to recognize donors at the different sponsorship levels discussed below.
So how should you structure the sponsorship and recognition options?
One option is to establish different sponsorship levels, each of which comes with its own level of benefits.
If a business or individual contributes a certain amount - either by purchasing a sponsorship package or underwriting aspects of your event - then they receive the various perks associated with that sponsorship level. What those benefits are and how much you set as the price point for each level is based on the size and scope of your event.
Establishing sponsorship levels like this makes it easier to manage donor expectations and gives you tools so you can solicit both small and large businesses with different needs.
In our auction catalog template, we split it up into three tiers of sponsorship opportunities, with a separate sponsorship page so you can recognize donors at each level in the catalog. Each tier has a different sized box with space for a business to put their logo or a small advertisement.
- Major Sponsor: These are reserved for individuals and businesses who make a substantial donation or underwrite a large part of the event.
- Mid Sponsor: You can use these boxes for donors who make a notable donation prior to the event or underwrite something specific, such as the auction catalog or a specific live auction item.
- Minor Sponsors: These spaces can be used for recognizing individuals or businesses that made smaller contributions or helped make the event happen.
One of the best sponsorship opportunities you can offer businesses is to have two live auction items on the top half of each page in the auction showcase, and an advertisement on the bottom half of each page.
Guests are thus exposed to the advertising business while viewing the live auction items. This sort of marketing exposure is a powerful tool when you are pitching to potential sponsors!
You can easily create your own auction catalog that includes space for sponsorship recognition in our pre-designed 100% customizable Microsoft Word auction catalog template.
If you've experienced successes or challenges in getting sponsorships for you event, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment in the comment section below.