Who and what in business?
Learn how to estimate the potential of your project from a business point of view. Remember that corporate sponsorship is a transaction, and you have something valuable to offer!
Identify your audience.
Before sponsors get involved, they may want to know if your list of clients overlaps with theirs. So when they ask, “Who does your project serve?” don’t just say, “Kids!” and let it go. Your play space project also serves parents, grandparents, teachers, facility staff, young couples, neighbours, volunteers, local officials, and handypersons. The list is endless! And every kind of person is a valuable customer for different companies.
Start by sitting down with your project colleagues and brainstorming a list of all the types of people who might be involved in or influenced by your project. Cast a wide net. What about out-of-town graduates and relatives? What about the membership lists of municipalities and voluntary organizations? Through some channel, you could probably get everyone in town involved!
Determine your assets.
You have a lot to offer a potential sponsor, from publicity and a good name to team-building opportunities for employees. Now it’s time to flesh out those ideas and really start brainstorming about more specific things you can offer.
To help, we borrowed an idea from author Patricia Martin. She suggests dividing your assets into intangible and tangible assets. Check these out and then come up with as many ideas as you can; later, when you’re preparing to approach individual companies, you can use your list to tailor a pitch. The key to corporate sponsorship is finding the right button to get that ‘yes’.
These are business results that are valuable but cannot be expressed in dollars. Make sure to use them as keywords in your pitch; business ears will perk up.
- Companies are strong in face-to-face networking because you never know what will happen if a group of people come together in the same place at the same time. Think about ways your project can encourage community interaction: For example, maybe a company could sponsor a large fundraiser, such as a golf tournament or gala auction. Bringing out a group of collaborators for a hands-on Build Day project is another way to rub the elbows of new people.
- Emotional experience
- You may not believe it now, but believe us when we say that building a community playground is an extremely moving and emotional experience. They fill the participants with hope, determination, joy, and confidence. Companies want to respond to this, both from a marketing perspective and from the perspective of employee motivation. So think of ways you can personalise and amplify the emotional aspects of the project. Perhaps you have children write personal thank you notes or design a project poster with the sponsor’s name and children’s drawings of the future playground. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies are also a great way to make the experience more memorable; brainstorm ways to include the sponsor’s name, product, and volunteers in the closing