Recent idea-sharing included these methods for soliciting sponsor funds:
1. Have companies "host" meetings. Becomes their responsibility to find sponsor(s). They'll use their own relationships. Always more effective when it's a customer/friend asking. Plus assures that company will show up.
2. Package a sponsorship program. For example, meeting sponsorship, charitable golf tournament hole sponsorship, trade show space, and/or website ad for one price. The big ask. Better than 4 calls and may expand their willingness to do more.
3. Form a sponsorship task force. Let a group brainstorm ideas on how to get sponsorship funds, and ensure the chairman asks them to each personally commit to finding at least one new sponsor. Many volunteers in our organizations are volunteers of many organizations - and have innovative ideas and contacts- they just haven't been asked.
4. Asking someone to recommit to same (or more) sponsorship from prior year is one of the few things that may actually work with direct mail request - as long as you have it entirely personalized (include name of contact, amount, event, likely benefit they received or good that was accomplished thanks to them). Or it could take a call.
And 2 things to think about:
1. You can have anything sponsored. When we landscaped our association we put a price tag on every tree and bush; and asked for sponsorships. All sponsored quickly. To save more landscaping money we hired a professional landscaper to design, buy and supervise the planting - but we had members donate their labor. Some wanted to plant the tree or bush they sponsored. It worked great. Five years later I mailed contributors pictures of "their tree" (now of course I'd email it or put on a website.)
2. Ask as early as possible for funds each year - and get the payments. Many organizations have limited budgets for contributions/sponsorships and others likely competing for those same dollars.
Have you done anything unique with sponsorships?