Fundraising corporate sponsors for Community organizations

Fundraising corporate sponsors are very important to us as community organization fundraisers. Our corporate landscape typically doesn't extend much beyond local businesses, so we need to make the most of the opportunities we have. It goes without saying that relationship building is central to success with local businesses.

Most community organizations have some sort of public facilities such as playing fields, technology suites, community centers etc. These facilities are perfect for you to display sponsorship banners for your fundraising corporate sponsors. You display a banner for a sponsor in return for a yearly amount, e.g. we have banners for 45 sponsors around our football field at $150 a time. These banners normally cost from $100-$150 to make so perhaps you will need to charge $200 the first year. Dont be tempted to take on the cost of the banner yourself as an incentive because it makes the decision for the sponsor not to renew, much easier. Never forget that you are in fundraising to make money for your organization and if youve spread your message people will be willing to support you.

When youre selling to a fundraising corporate sponsor, its likely that youll need to go to their offices to meet with them. Work out which local businesses your organization spends money with each year and be sure to target them especially. Make sure your fundraising corporate sponsors know what benefits you bring to the table for their business and the local community.

Quite often the fact that your community organization is popular in the local community will be enough, especially if they have a retail business. Supporting your organization will reflect well on them within the community (for only $100-$200 per year).

If you are asking for a major sponsorship youll have to sell your organization over a period of time. Start by sowing the seed and then continue to up-the-ante. The best way to close is to take them to lunch (or even breakfast)

Sometimes fundraising corporate sponsors will be expecting your visit and will have already made up their minds to support you (especially if you know the owner). Remember you are always trying to maximize your fundraising efforts and that it doesnt always have to be in the form of cash. If the business is keen then dont be afraid to ask about the possibility of them donating some expertise (e.g. for building work, electrical work, computers etc). People dont put the same value on their employees time as they do on hard cash but its all the same to your organization in terms of what your bank balance will show at the end of the year.

As I say, there are many sponsorship opportunities. You can also get sponsorship for individual events where you put the name of the business in a program or on a cheap poster that only stays up for the event. Weve had businesses sponsor holes on golf days, races at the night-at-the-races and even the bouncy castle at our open day (incidentally, that was a childrens furniture retailer, just in case you were wondering). As a sports club weve got sponsors for our teams playing kits and the scoreboard.

You can even get sponsorship for each page of your annual calendar! Use your imagination for your own context because once youve built up the affinity with your community, anything is possible.

Always remember to thank your sponsors in a letter and in the case of larger fundraising corporate sponsors, get the volunteer to organize a photograph for placement in the local press.

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