What is event sponsorship? Most schools already have a form of sponsorship in place. It’s called “Partners in Education”. The challenge is that these same Partners in Education are solicited over and over again for donations. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are numerous untapped resources for event sponsors for school fund raising activities.
I’ll be using a school carnival put on by as a PTA fund raiser as our example for event sponsorship, but other types of events can be easily adapted from this model.
This article is an abbreviated excerpt from our:School Carnival Guide
School Event Sponsorship - 7 Steps
1) Developing an Event Sponsorship Package
I first recommend you list all of the school fund raising activities involved in your school carnival. Typical examples would include carnival games, inflatables (such as Moonwalks and Giant Slides), contests, activities (such as face painting, cake walk, or pony rides), costumed characters, and entertainers (such as magicians, clowns or a DJ).
There are two questions potential sponsors always ask: “How much?” and “What do I get for my sponsorship?” You have to decide what the sponsors will receive for their investment.
Here are some benefits you can offer a sponsor:
• Sponsor banner at event
• Sponsor name on all ads announcing the event in local and school radio and newspapers
• Sponsor name on all flyers
• Handout sponsor coupons/samples at event
One example I’ve seen at a school carnival was a chiropractic practice setting up a booth with a video, and giving out coupons for free spinal exams.
2) Putting Together a Presentation Kit
This kit should answer the questions “who?”, “what?”, “when?”, “how?”, and the all important “why?”
Sponsors want to know the reason for the event. Everybody wants to help out children and education, especially for a local cause. One elementary school we worked with was putting in a new playground. It’s been five years since, but I remember the carnival every time I drive by the school and see “our” playground.
3) Identifying Event Sponsorship Prospects
There are three major groups of prospects that are often overlooked for event sponsorship opportunities. The first group is school vendors.
The second group of prospects is parents of students at the school who own their own businesses. One example at a school we worked with last year had a HVAC company sponsor a carnival game for $50.
The third group of prospects is local companies that want to do business with the families of the children at the school. A perfect example of this is a Dentist or Orthodontist. One of my personal favorites is plumbers, having recently paid a plumbing bill of $800. It’s time for them to give back to the school community.
Business categories may be found in your local yellow pages. Let your fingers do the walking!
4) Soliciting Event Sponsorship Prospects
Once the event sponsorship prospect list is developed, it’s time to prioritize it and put your best prospects at the top of the list. It’s best to go after the big fish first, because a frequent question you’ll get from small businesses is “Who else is sponsoring?” A media sponsor, such as a local newspaper or radio station should also be your top priority.
Local business associations and chamber groups are excellent prospects to solicit at their meetings. It’s best to call ahead, and get listed on the agenda. Also, it’s wise to use someone comfortable with public speaking for these groups.
One way to reach parents who own their own businesses is to send home a flyer or notice in the school newsletter. Announcements at PTA meetings can also be profitable.
5) Implement the Sponsorship Program at Your Event
Make sure you do what you promised! I recommend the school fund raising committee provide a Sponsor Coordinator to take care of your sponsors. You’ll find that some sponsors will show up early, others right before the event starts. The Sponsor Coordinator will check that each sponsor has a table, access to electricity and anything else they need. This will insure repeat sponsorship for years to come.
You may want to encourage the sponsors to do giveaways at their booths. This enables them to collect names of prospects.
6) Prepare for Next Year’s Event Sponsorship Program
This is done while your event is taking place. Take plenty of pictures, hopefully of children smiling and laughing.
Also, collect a sample of all the flyers and posters used during the school carnival. This will also help in your presentations next year.
7) Follow Up and Thank the Sponsors
Each of the sponsors should be called personally to make sure the sponsor enjoyed the event. Some school fund raising committees have a dinner thanking their sponsors (yes, the dinner is sponsored as well).
For the larger sponsors a plaque of appreciation is suggested. People like to be appreciated, and it’s an easy to renew the sponsorship next year when you visit and point to the plaque on the wall.
For a more detailed discussion of school event sponsorship, please consult our: