So your committee is sitting there, looking around at each other when the topic of Sponsors comes up for your fundraiser.
Two people immediately sit BACK in their seats, one starts coughing and reached for the pitcher of water and one actually gets up but motions for the group to “carry on” as he suddenly senses an attack from irritable bowel syndrome, which he has never experienced before. Of course, it will keep him “occupied” and out of this particular discussion.
It really is a fairly simple discussion and it comes in three separate and distinct points.
1. This is gonna’ hurt, but believe me it’s nothing personal. Sponsors really don’t care about you, your cause or the dollar amount that you are asking for. (just checking to see if you are O.K.) What they do care about, EVERY SINGLE DAY of the year is getting more traffic, more connections and making more money! I can absolutely guarantee you that they don’t want to read the two page printed and stapled story that committee members took too long to prepare. You know the one. It is a story that is really supposedly meant to tug at the heartstrings of the “tragedy” upon us where ALL of the penguins on the planet are all dressed up in their “tuxedo’s” but not a one has a matching bow tie. So, your group puts together a lovely two page letter exposing the fact that penguins are certainly saddened by the lack of proper black tie etiquette and how the penguin world would be a far better place for “us all” if they had bow ties for their regal colorings. So, the BOW TIES FOR PENGUINS golf outing is hitting the town looking for like minded merchants to fix this “issue”, but all they care about is themselves , their foot traffic and increased revenue. Two of them don’t think that they have ever even seen a penguin. Of course the two page letter ends with a weak ask for financial help and when it is presented to the busy business owner or worse, the minimum wage employee tasked with greeting everyone that walks through the door with a smile. Neither of them has the time nor the sense of passion for the project that you do. Heck, Ryan, the $12 per hour employee isn’t listening or reading a word that you present and you hear… “well, the manager isn’t here right now, but I will get this to them.” All you did was waste paper, the printer ink and a staple. When you finally get in front of the decision maker, if you ever do, you are showing them that they can have the EVENT SPONSOR TITLE at the golf outing for only $10,000.00 but the only question you will hear is “how many people will be at the event?” You reply’ “We hope to have 96 but right now we only have 18 registered. Again, no care is spared for the penguins but these people can do pretty quick math in their head… 10 grand to reach MAYBE 96 people…. that’s over $100 per pair of eyes on my logo. You are kindly reminded how busy they are and you leave. I mean, they are far better off standing at a busy intersection handing out TEN DOLLAR bills with a piece of paper stapled to the bill that has their web address on it and handing them out to everyone who looks at THEIR cardboard sign. At least the same 10 grand will reach 1000 people who might actually look at the website to find out what the idiot handing out money is doing.
2. Every single person on the committee knows people and spends money in many areas of town. Even that guy in the bathroom right now. The person in charge of this fundraising or golf outing committee is having a pool installed at their home. They just had new siding put on the house or new shingles thanks to a freak storm… and their homeowner’s insurance. Just looking at the “low hanging fruit”, this person has three solid contacts as he wrote a check to each. Everyone should look to these facilities first. Car dealerships, because they just bought a car, restaurants or bars where everyone knows their name (see what I did there?) Basically anyone and EVERYONE that YOU spend money with will be more interested in supporting you a little. Each and every committee member should look to these people first. Heck, you all have Christmas Card lists for that time of year. All of them work somewhere. Use your connections.
3. You need to simply ASK potential sponsors how YOU can help them increase traffic. No sob story letter, just a single paper or card with your logo, outing date, your cell number and your email address (web address too if you have it) You will be surprised at the responses. GIVE THEM SOMETHING COOL TO SPONSOR.
NOTE: Ask for a higher price than you think it’s worth and sell sponsorships to EVERY SINGLE THING at your event. Everyone wants to usher you out of their store when you are asking for donations. They get pounded every day with this stuff. Those interested, as you know, simply take a tee sign for a hundred bucks or whatever. When you get push back on a Title Sponsor position, it sound like this… You explain that the Title Sponsor is 5 grand and they look up at you over the rim of their glasses or whistle… “Five thousand… dollars?” they push your paper back and say no thanks. EVERYONE immediately drops their prices and says something like…. “How about $4 thousand?” just to make the sale. You hear a story how business sucks and 4 grand is a lot at this time. Instead of dropping your price ALWAYS offer more value. It goes like this (from your end). “Well, I’ll tell you what, I will give you one tee sign on the front nine, one tee sign on the back nine. I will also put your logo on the beverage sponsor sign that is on each of the beverage carts (you have to make the sign anyway so make it look like a Nascar) and on every dinner table I will put Tent Cards with your logo. So….. They will see your sign on the front 9, they will see your logo sign again on the back nine and they will see your logo on BOTH beverage carts multiple times all day long as they circle by. When the event is over, they will be sitting at their table and see your name and website right in front of them. They see you multiple times all day long……… $7,500!” – The guy says, “I just told you that five thousand was out, not you hit me with seventy five hundred? Can you do that for six grand?” And you got your sponsorship as the stuff you just offered him only costs you around twenty dollars. ($18 for the extra tee sign and a handful of tent cards that are about ten cents each. You gave him MORE VALUE as opposed to making it all about you, well, and the penguin attire.