If you have cable television, you have access to a lot of programming. Not too long ago, I came across a channel in the 300 level called ATNTV that shows classic TV shows from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
One of my favorite shows to watch is “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. Like all TV shows, Mr. Hitchcock had to have sponsors to put his show on every week. At the beginning and the end of the show, Hitchcock came out on camera, talked a little about the evening’s entertainment, and then with a backhanded comment, introduced the sponsor. In Hitchcock’s opinion, sponsors were a necessary evil that allowed him to exhibit his art.
In the nonprofit world, sponsorships are also necessary for things to get accomplished. Whether you are having a big fundraising dinner/gala, a concert, or a 5K run, your organization needs sponsors to help pay for your event. Just like TV or radio shows need commercial advertising, nonprofits need sponsors to help pay the bills for the events that help raise money for their programs.
It is a calculated business decision to support your organization’s efforts. It isn’t all for altruistic reasons, and it helps their business succeed, and is really a form of advertising. When your organization seeks a sponsor, it must be prepared to give something in return for their financial participation. Depending on the level of support, the sponsor’s name needs to be prominently placed in all the literature. You must make sure the company logo is placed on any banners or T-shirts that are given out to participants. The more money your corporate sponsor spends, the more they expect in return.
Sponsorship is a business transaction, pure and simple, and your organization needs to be prepared to deliver the goods. Plan ahead and make decisions about what you will be willing to do for the level of sponsorship funds. Top level sponsors will want and deserve preferential treatment, top logo placement, larger and bolder fonts, and other perques. Mid-level sponsors will get some of the same benefits, but the logo placement will be in smaller font below the top level, and lower level sponsors will get fewer benefits for their support. Depending on your needs, plan on one to three top level sponsors, four to seven mid level sponsors, and six to ten or more lower level sponsors. Be ready to negotiate, and when decisions are made, deliver on your promises. If you don’t, your sponsors will not be there next year.
Now, back to the show.