How to Set Sponsorship Levels and Benefits for Your Next Fundraising Event

How to Set Sponsorship Levels and Benefits for Your Next Fundraising Event(1)
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For most fundraising events, the majority of your money should be raised through sponsorships.

Without a strong focus on sponsors, your event will not reach its true potential. If you are setting an ambitious fundraising goal for your event, it will be far easier to reach that goal if you can raise 50%+ of the revenue from large sponsors than if you are trying to raise 100% through individual ticket sales.

The first step to selling sponsorships for you event is to define your sponsorship levels and what benefits are included for each sponsoring company / individual. In defining sponsorship levels, be ambitious but realistic. Look at your donor file and the businesses you are thinking of contacting to understand what levels you can realistically expect to fill.

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If, for example, you are holding an event for the first time and your largest annual donor gives you $25,000 per year, don’t set up a title sponsorship for your event at the $500,000 level… you’re not going to get it. On the other hand, many organizations that do have large donors will hold annual galas and price their top sponsorship at $1,000 or $2,500 thus underselling what could be a very lucrative avenue for additional revenue.

Setting Your Sponsorship Levels

When setting sponsorship levels, look at your overall event goal. Assume that you will raise at least 50% of your overall fundraising goal through sponsorships (if not more). Thus, if you want to raise $100,000 from your event, your sponsorship goal should be in the $50,000+ range. Set your sponsor levels accordingly. In this case, you’d want to have a top sponsorship slot of at least $15,000 – $20,000 in order to reach your overall sponsor goal.

Naming Your Sponsorship Levels

Name your sponsorship levels in a way that highlights either your event theme or your organization’s work. For example, if you are holding an event to raise money for a school, you could name your sponsor levels: Scholar, Essayist, Author, Contributor, Friend. If you are holding an event with a garden theme your sponsorship levels could be: Rose, Tulip, Petunia, Daffodil, Daisy. If you can’t come up with anything that ties into your organization or event, you can also use naming conventions like: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze.

Providing Benefits to Sponsors

Each sponsor level should include a distinct group of benefits for the sponsoring company, individual, organization or family. These benefits can include:

Marketing Opportunities – What marketing and advertising opportunities can you offer your sponsors in return for their sponsorship?

  • Event and pre-event naming opportunities
  • Inclusion in press releases and event programs
  • Signage at the event
  • Recognition by event speakers from the podium
  • Press availabilities
  • Recognition on the organization’s website

Event Benefits – What event benefits can you offer your sponsors in return for their sponsorship?

  • Tickets to the event and to any VIP receptions at the event
  • Reserved tables at the event
  • Inclusion of a sponsor representative as an event chair or co-chair

Be creative in planning your sponsor benefits. Not every sponsor will receive all of the benefits outlined above, and obviously the higher a sponsor’s donation is, the more benefits the company or individual will receive.

Sample Fundraising Event Sponsor Package

Most non-profits that are hosting fundraising events will create a sponsorship flier (or include one with their event invitations) that showcases the sponsor levels and the benefits that sponsors will receive at each level. Here is a sample sponsor flier you can modify for your next fundraising event:

47th Annual Columbia Family Shelter Black Tie Gala

Title Sponsor: $20,000
– Naming rights for the event and inclusion of logo on all event materials
– 25′ banner at event
– Opportunity for sponsor to speak at event
– 20 tickets to event and VIP auction preview

VIP Auction Preview Sponsor: $10,000
– Naming rights for VIP auction preview reception
– Inside back cover of ad calendar, and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper and billboard advertising for event
– Logo featured on website for one year on event invitations and materials
– 10 tickets to event and VIP auction preview

Presenting Sponsor(s): $5,000
– Full page ad in ad calendar and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper and billboard advertising for event
– Logo featured on website for one year and on invitations and event materials
– 10 tickets to event, 6 tickets to VIP auction preview

Excellence Award Sponsors: $2,500
– Naming rights for one of this year’s Columbia Excellence Awards, presented at the event
– ½ page ad in ad calendar and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper and billboard advertising for event
– Name listed on event invitations and logo featured on website for six months
– 6 tickets to event, 2 tickets to VIP auction preview

Silver Sponsor: $1,000
– ½ page ad in ad calendar and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper advertising for event
– Name listed on event invitations and logo featured on website for six months
– 4 tickets to event, 2 tickets to VIP auction preview

Bronze Sponsor: $500
– ¼ page ad in ad calendar and logo featured on website for six months
– 2 tickets to event, 2 tickets to VIP auction preview

Partner Sponsor: $300
– Listing in ad calendar and on website for three months
– 2 tickets to event

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