The secret key to highly successful – meaning, highly profitable – fundraising events isn’t ticket sales.
And sponsorships should, ideally, account for half the revenue you raise from an event.
Sponsors are often businesses or major donors that usually receive some list of benefits for financially supporting your event in a big way: private meet-and-greet/photo op with speaker/headliner, listing in event program, free tickets/tables, VIP seating, recognition from the stage, etc.
So how do you find sponsors? Well, the best way is to create a “host committee.”
A host committee is different from a volunteer committee, which is established to handle all the logistics of putting on an event. A host committee should focus on one thing and one thing only: raising money.
Ideally, host committee members should themselves make a large enough donation to the event to qualify as a sponsor. But it’s OK to include and recognize individuals as members of the host committee providing they do, in fact, sell a bunch of tickets and/or find, solicit and get sponsors.
Putting someone’s name on your host committee just to have a “big name” on your host committee without that person doing what a host committee member is supposed to do – raise money! – is of very little value (except to the ego of the individual you’ve listed as being on your host committee even though they didn’t contribute or raise any money).
Now, when it comes to businesses – *IF* your state allows corporate sponsorships (check and be sure!) – there are two things to keep in mind…
1.) Some businesses sponsor political events from funds set aside for political campaigns or causes. Sometimes that money comes from a PAC (political action committee).
2.) Others may sponsor events out of their advertising budget if, in fact, the business gets legitimate advertising exposure from the sponsorship.
Keep this in mind. Regardless of what cookie jar the money comes from in the business, it spends the same for your campaign or organization. You don’t really care. Just make sure you explain the two options to businesses you approach and let them make the decision that’s best for them.
And never forget: It’s funD-raising, no fun-raising. The “D” stands for dollars.