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The perspective from both sides
Sponsors are a great way for a charity to offset the costs associated with organizing an event, a program, or building a facility. In fact, for many events, sponsorships are the difference between an event resulting in a loss or bringing in revenue.
For a company, sponsoring an event, program, or capital project can connect them with target markets, improve community relations, and help build staff morale.
For many charities a sponsorship will be in support of a fundraising event, so today I will focus on event sponsorship.
The usual tactic charities take is to create multiple funding levels with various benefits attached to each level. This usually does not take into consideration the needs of individual businesses. Years ago, when working with sponsorship expert Brent Barootes, I learned to be effective you must customize each sponsorship agreement to each individual company.
How do you do that? First, look at all the opportunities your event offers from a business’s standpoint. Sponsorship opportunities can come in many forms, including:
• Exhibition space
• Event tickets
• Reception opportunities
• Speaking opportunities
• Direct communication with participants
• Brand promotion
• Banner placement
Having compiled all of these opportunities you then need to place a dollar value on each that corresponds to its marketing value to a company.
With that list made, you need to spend time learning what is important to the company. One company might want to entertain clients, so tickets to a VIP part of an event are most important to them. To others, those same tickets are a problem getting rid of. Maybe well-placed banners during the event or a speaking opportunity is what they want most. Each business will have different desires and outcomes in mind.
Think of it as supermarket with all the opportunities stacked on the shelves. The top-level sponsors get to go first and pick from the shelves what they want most. The next level sponsor goes next, and so on.
A good sponsorship agreement specifically offers targeted opportunities to the sponsor. Now, instead of shoe-horning a company into a category the charity made up, their partnership fit becomes apparent to both of you.
Now you have your sponsor and the benefits that they want. Next you must draw up a concise sponsorship proposal. You both need to have a thorough understanding of what it is being offered and the benefits you both receive in return.
Remember a sponsorship agreement is a formal offer to do business. Be sure to make a clear contract outlining the benefits, responsibilities, and timelines that you are both happy with, and have it signed by both parties.
Throughout the event continue to build your relationships with your sponsors and they will come back, year after year.
I hope that this article has inspired you to craft your own sponsorship approach. If you want to test drive your ideas, or have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at . ... See MoreSee Less
Often you only have a few moments with someone who you think may help your cause. Having a good elevator speech is a way to immediately engage donors and can be used by staff and volunteers alike to enlist others in your cause.
First you need to remember it is not really a speech, just a good solid connection with another person, delivered in a timely fashion. Here are my Six C’s for a good elevator speech:
Call to Action
Concise – Be brief but meaningful, 30 – 60 seconds is all the time you have. In 2015 Microsoft did a study that found the average person’s attention span is 8 seconds, so you have just a few seconds to really engage them. Otherwise, you are wasting their time and yours. (The study also found the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds, so that puts us in perspective.)
Clear – Have clarity in defining what your organization does, without statistics or technical explanations. You move quickly to keep them engaged. Details can come later when they are engaged and asking specifically for these.
Comfortable – Practice will make you comfortable. You are not making a hard sales pitch here. Make it personal and be kind, open, and sincere.
Captivating – Grab their attention. Your short-and-sweet message is so compelling that they will be engaged to hear more.
Connected – By being clear, comfortable, and captivating you will create a connection with some part of their life. How does what you are doing coincide with their values. Connected people will become more curious of what you are doing.
Call to Action – The strength of your call to action is vital. How can they make a difference? Often the best way is asking an engaging question.
That seems like a lot to fit in under a minute. So how do you make a good elevator speech that satisfies each of the six C’s? Below is a simple template for you to follow:
We do [the solution] for [target] so that [end goal].
Create a sheet with three columns: the solution, the target, and the end goal. Brainstorm as many possibilities for each and then use the best to form your elevator speech. Some basic guidelines are:
You are shooting for 30 to 60 seconds, without sounding rushed. (Remember simplicity is harder to create than complexity.)
Detail your goal simply and what you are doing to achieve it. (Shun any statistics or technical explanations, there is a time for these later).
Identify what makes your approach unique. (Avoid being self-centered).
Show them how they can help. (How they are a part of the solution).
Ask an engaging, open-ended question. (And be ready with answers).
Have your business card in your pocket ready. (Or your contact information).
Practice, practice, practice. When you are relaxed you come across clearly. (Refrain from being repetitive, awkward, or pushy).
A good elevator speech is an invitation to further conversation, not a sales push. Follow these simple rules and you too will have an effective elevator speech for everyone in your organization to use.
I hope that this article has inspired you to craft your own elevator speech. If you want to test drive yours, or have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at . ... See MoreSee Less
Do you have a Culture of Philanthropy?
Is your fundraising transactional or reciprocal?
Does someone in your organization detest fundraising?
Do many have an aversion to fundraising?
Does your board think that fundraising is not what they signed up for?
Does your board and/or staff not support fundraising?
If you said yes to any of the above you have a common problem. To solve it you need to build a stronger culture of philanthropy in your charity.
Why do some people not love fundraising? They are uncomfortable asking people for money. Some equate it to begging or as somehow ethically questionable. Some people justify their dislike by saying that fundraising is “not what we are about”. This thinking assumes that the organization does not need money to fulfill its mission or it is always someone else’s job to bring in money.
These detractors view philanthropy as a one-way transaction. This is far from the truth. The benefits of philanthropy are reciprocal.
Why do people think this way? Well, when I was young, I was told not to ask for things from relatives or neighbours. I was told it was impolite, selfish, or pushy.
Many people carry these juvenile ideas over to adulthood without even knowing it. The underlying assumption is that asking for money is the only thing you do when you fundraise. The donor gets little back in the exchange. This is not true at all. The act of giving benefits us all, both donors and recipients.
Dr William Harbaugh, professor of economics and first author of a 2017 University of Oregon study said “To economists, the surprising thing is that we actually see people getting rewards as they give up money. On top of that, people experience even more brain activation when they give.”
In a 2014 study University of Albany Economic Professor Baris Yörük found that those households that gave had notably lower probability of high blood pressure, cancer and heart attack. In these cases, the health benefits of giving have been equated to that of avoiding obesity and smoking.
These and many other studies say that pro-social spending distracts the giver from their own problems and shifts their personal focus to hope and optimism. Here are a few things that research has shown how giving affects donors:
• Giving increases well-being by improving self-esteem, optimism, and general happiness.
• Giving improves physical and mental health.
• Giving raises awareness and consciousness.
• Giving correlates with better financial health.
A strong culture of philanthropy is also beneficial to enthusiasm and morale of staff and volunteers in a charity. In my 2002 Masters thesis I interviewed 100 organizations of various sizes and missions.
The most successful charities had strong board, staff and volunteer support for fundraising. No matter the size or the sector, the prosperous ones all had strong cultures of philanthropy.
Philanthropy is an exchange of values and is valuable to both the donor and the charities. Knowing this moves our thinking away from the simply transactional to the mutually beneficial nature of donations. Both the charity and the donor profit from a strong philanthropic culture.
When you face attitudes that are negative about fundraising, your best approach is knowing that directly asking donors isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. BUT everyone can and should champion fundraising in their own way. For a strong and healthy philanthropic culture everyone must understand and support fundraising.
I hope that this article has inspired you to refine your approach to building a healthy culture of philanthropy in your organization. If you want to test drive your ideas, or have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at . ... See MoreSee Less
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Donating to charities should bring you joy. Should you set up a Family Foundation? Should you set up a Donor Directed Fund at a community foundation? Should you give gifts that are used right away or are Endowed Funds best for your aims? Want to develop your family’s philanthropic culture in a way that lasts for generations? We can help you make the most of your donations, today and in the future. ... See MoreSee Less
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