Monday, February 16, 2009

5 Tips to Getting a Sponsorship

We're 2-3 weeks past kickoff, and your fund raising efforts should be kicking into high gear. Reaching out to local businesses in your community is crucial to raising money in sizable chunks. The key is to reach out to everyone you can think of, and to make it hard for them to say 'no'!

To get to 'yes', I suggest that you customize your fund raising letters, and add on to TNT's standard corporate sponsorship with customized sponsorship levels and benefits of your own. Really sell your local business owners on what you will do to help promote them in return for their dollars. If you show them how donating money to you will help their bottom line, they'll be much more likely to sponsor you.
  1. You pay 'em? You ask 'em!
    Send a letter, with a #10 (full-sized) security-lined SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to every single business person that you can recall paying, for as far back as you can remember. Hit up your dry cleaner, your masseuse, your mechanic. Everyone! I did this, and I just received a $100 check (in my SASE) from a seamstress I've hired a few times over the past couple of years.

  2. Include the corporate sponsorship proposal with your letter.
    Do not make a business reach out to you to ask for a copy of TNT's corporate sponsorship proposal. Include a copy with each letter you send to businesses. (Print on both sides to save paper.) And while you're at it, go ahead and make sure your name is already printed on the "Team Member" line.

  3. Do the legwork for them.
    If your corporate sponsorship proposal includes directions for the sponsor to mail a check to LLS, and mail the sponsorship proposal to your local chapter, offer to do the legwork for them! Include a #10 (full-size) security lined envelope, self-addressed and stamped. Over the directions for mailing back the paperwork on the proposal, attach a Post-It note, handwritten with the following: If you mail the proposal back to me before (date) I will handle distribution of your check and paperwork with LLS. Thanks! - Yourname.
    Be sure that your "return by" date is far enough in advance of the deadline your chapter sets for corporate sponsorships for you to manage processing their check!

  4. Offer businesses all options!
    $500 is the minimum buy-in for a corporate sponsorship on our proposals, but I make sure to include in my letter another alternative: "Want to help but can't participate as a full sponsor?" in nice bold letters, followed by instructions for making a regular donation, will do wonders. Not all sponsors can afford $500 - $1,500.

  5. Create your custom sponsorship levels!
    Our local Team in Training chapters offer standard sponsorship benefits at the $500 and up range, but be sure to include something that might entice those who can't afford a full sponsorship. This goes hand-in-hand with #2. Consider this kind of blurb in your letter:

    Want to help but can't participate as a full sponsor?

    Thank you for your generosity! I would love to partner with you for my event! While standard Team in Training benefits start at the $500 level, I am excited to offer these personalized options for all sponsors donating at least $100:

    1. Sponsor a Mile: I will be promoting 26 sponsors on my "Sponsor-a-Mile" page and on my fundraising page! Pick your mile! I will link to your site and promote your business throughout my training.
    2. Personal Promotion Package: I've asked for your help because I love working with your business and your service has always been exceptional! Sponsor me and together we'll come up with a personal promotion package! I can write three honest reviews of your business on three different review sites to promote your business while you help me fund my run! Other options are available, just ask!
    3. Sponsorship Spotlight: Each week I feature one of my sponsors in a Sponsorship Spotlight on my blog! I will link to your site, include information about your business, and tell all of my readers, many of whom are local, about my wonderful experience with your business and your generous sponsorship!
You can raise money for your event without sponsors, but it's so much easier to hit your fund raising goal with larger donations from sponsors that it's really worth the effort. And it's rewarding too! If you solicit businesses that you trust and value, then you can really make your sponsorship work as a partnership for the both of you, which is good for your fund raising today and also for your relationship with your sponsor -- and future fund raising efforts!! -- down the line. Build and nurture these relationships and you will be able to go back to the well for another sponsorship for your next Team in Training event.

Good luck with the fund raising and go Team!

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