Poor communication can tank any relationship, especially corporate sponsorship, before it even gets going. Open and clear communication between the nonprofit and the corporation is absolutely necessary for the partnership to be a success. Both parties should be upfront about what they want from the partnership and how they see things moving forward. Any issues that arise should be dealt with swiftly and maturely. Open communication builds trust and ensures that the partnership remains strong for the duration of the sponsorship.
It is time-consuming to put together sponsorship packages and solicit corporations. It takes a small team of people to do the research, put together a compelling sponsorship package, and cultivate relationships with corporations that may be interested in a partnership. If your nonprofit has a small staff, you may find that it’s not worth it to take the time away from your standard fundraising efforts and community outreach.
Expect it to take two or three weeks to put together a package and make sure everything looks good. You want enough material to solicit a response out of every type of person. Everyone absorbs information differently, so be sure to include images, data and metrics, and quality text.
When putting your package together, make all your asks at one time. If you are looking for sponsorship for three events throughout the year, send all that information in the same package. Yes, this means it will take you a bit longer to put your sponsorship package together, but it’s worth doing. It saves your nonprofit from putting together three brand new packages each year and it saves the corporation from feeling like you ask too often.
Don’t be surprised if it takes two or three months to receive a response. Like soliciting major donors, you should expect this process to take time.
A failed partnership can wreak havoc on the public image of both the corporation and the nonprofit. Corporations, of course, are more likely to survive any fallout from a failed sponsorship, but smaller nonprofits may struggle to reestablish their reputation in the community after a negative event.
This is why it is imperative to do your due diligence and ensure that any corporation you decide to approach would be a good fit for your nonprofit. Do what you can, from the beginning, to minimize the chances of a negative outcome. Not only will this save you the headache of rebuilding your reputation in the community should it come to that, it also puts you in a better position to secure additional sponsorships in the future.