Three Tips for Getting Repeat Sponsors

In business it costs more to get a new customer than it does to maintain an existing one, the same is true of event sponsors.  I often see nonprofits trying to go after bigger and better sponsors when they haven't tended to the ones they have. Below are a few tips, along with some action items, to help you focus on your existing sponsors and ensure they come back year after year:

It’s not about you.

Your sponsor is not an ATM.  This is a major two-way business transaction. If a sponsor is willing to hand over a check to sponsor your event, now it’s your turn to help them achieve their goals.  ASK them what they want out of the sponsorship.  If your sponsor contact has a boss, find out what will make them look good to their boss and do it.

Action Item:  Pick up the phone and talk to your sponsor.  Do not ask for money.  Talk to them about their business goals.  Ask them about previous sponsor experiences.  Which ones did they like best and why? Which past experiences were not good and why? Is there anything they need or wish had been included as part of your package? Want to know what else you should be asking your sponsors?  See below for how to get a list of 5 questions to ask them.

Set aside one day per month on your calendar to touch base with all of your sponsors. Don't  just focus on high-level sponsors. If treated well, that low-level sponsor could become your next presenting sponsor. Touch base with your sponsor year-round, not just in the months leading up to your event.  If you treat them like a valued business partner instead of a money tree they are more likely to return.

Stay Social

Keep up with your sponsors.  Like and follow all of their social media accounts.  Be the first to congratulate them when they post company honors or media mentions.  

Action item:  Go onto Facebook and find your most loyal sponsor.  If you haven't already done so, 'like' their page.  Share something special from their page on your organization's page; an article, contest, promotion or other news.  If they’re running a sales promotion, ask them for a redemption code so they can tie sales back to you.  If they haven't posted anything relevant recently, you can always use #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) to share older news.

Follow Through

Ensure your sponsor receives all the benefits promised to them.  This seems like a no brainer but if they can’t trust you to deliver what you promised they won't be back next year.

Action Item:   Make a chart or checklist of all the benefits you promised along with deadlines and who’s responsible for fulfillment. Use a simple spreadsheet or online tools such as Asana, Trello or Wunderlist to create your checklist.  Mark things off as they are completed.

If you're struggling with getting new sponsors for your event, perhaps you need to focus on the ones you have.  If you don't know what questions to ask your sponsors, join my private Facebook group Nonprofit Event Debrief.  I'll post 5 things you should know about them.