Hello event bloggers! I hope everyone is enjoying the summer months because they are going fast! I can’t believe how quickly time goes when the weather is beautiful. I am right in the middle of doing a lot of different things in the process of planning Bright Night, the artist-run New Years Eve festival that takes place in downtown Providence, Rhode Island each year. This year is the 10th Anniversary of the festival and my FIRST year as Festival Director, so it is definitely a challenge to take over where someone left off. I have been in the process of reaching out to venues, performers and sponsors to build the festival up to what it has been – and hopefully more!
Today I want to talk about soliciting sponsorships and donations. Asking for money is never an easy thing, especially during this time when our economy is struggling. There are certain ways that you can present your request that makes it more acceptable and potentially successful.
- Have a script. I don’t mean write a script for yourself and read it word-for-word to each potential donor or sponsor, but I do mean to have a basic idea of what you would like to say and how you are going to ask for the money. When you have specific notes and points to touch on in front of you, it makes the whole process easier.
- Ask for more. Are you calling potential donors/sponsors who have given to your cause in the past? If so, you probably have a record of how much they gave. DOUBLE IT when you ask for a specific amount. You will usually get half of what you ask for anyway, so to ensure that you get at least what you have in the past – ask for double what you expect them to give.
- Ask for a specific amount. Make sure you ask for a specific amount, if you leave it open ended it will be easier for them to either say no – or give a much smaller amount than you would prefer. Be bold, the worst they can say is no!
- Be personable. It is much easier to offer money or support to someone who is pleasant to talk to! Smile while you speak and it will come through in your voice. Offer to listen to any questions they may have and be sure you can provide the answers.
- Keep records. Make sure you know who you have called, who you spoke to, what was said in your conversation, etc. It makes following up that much easier – and believe me you will be doing more following up than you will be making initial calls!
- Follow up. It is very rare that you will call someone and get to speak to them directly the first time you call. There will always be receptionists, assistants, and answering machines to deal with. So make sure if you leave a message on a machine or with someone that you have record of who or when and call back! No one really cares about you and your cause until you make them! Being persistent is how you will reach your goals.
- THANK EVERYONE! Go to WalMart and buy a 50-pack of classy thank you cards. Whenever an individual, company or business agrees to give you a donation or sponsorship support of some kind – keep a running list and upon receiving the check: WRITE A HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE. It will really make you stand out and will ensure a positive experience and will make it more likely that they will support your cause again in the future!
Do you have any tips for successful donation or sponsorship getting? Share with us in the comments section! Everyone has a different way of approaching these situations, so I’m sure there are some great, unique ideas out there on how to approach this situation.