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Blog > Sponsorship: A Critical Revenue Stream

Sponsorship: A Critical Revenue Stream

affiché le 12 août 2019

by Maria Lahiffe

There are almost unlimited opportunities to raise money for your not-for-profit through sponsorship. In fact, corporate sponsorship spending has increased worldwide every year for the last 10 years. [1] Selling sponsorship is different from any other revenue stream, and needs to be approached differently.

What is sponsorship?

Sponsorship is a sales transaction. A company will pay you for specific promotional benefits. Sponsorship differs from fundraising in some critical respects, which we talked about in a previous post.

A sponsorship can be win-win, but it does take work. You get money to pay for your operations, and the sponsor gets the halo effect of association with your worthy cause, as well as a chance for a specific audience to interact meaningfully with their brand.

For example, the Marriott Hotel is a sponsor of the Ottawa Race Weekend. [2] They offer discounted rates for runners to stay at their hotel. This benefits Ottawa Race Weekend because it makes the event more accessible to competitors from out of town. It benefits the Marriott by giving them an opportunity to make a great impression on a large group of people who are likely to travel at other times of the year for other reasons. It increases the chance they’ll stay at a Marriott Hotel on their next vacation. Win-win.

Put yourself in the sponsor’s shoes

Think about how you do your shopping. I’m willing to bet you start by thinking about what you need, then evaluate a store’s offerings in that light. Potential sponsors are the same. You need to look at it from the point of view of the buyer.

There are lots of reasons why businesses become sponsors, including: [3]

  • Attracting customers to a brand
  • Distinguishing a brand from competitors’ brands
  • Changing or strengthening a brand by humanizing it
  • Raising awareness of a specific product
  • Demonstrating community or social responsibility
  • Investing in a community
  • Building a company’s credibility and educating people about the company’s products and services
  • Targeting a particular demographic
  • Entertaining key clients by taking them to cultural or athletic events

Assets: What could you sell?

Here is an incomplete list of things which could potentially have monetary value to a sponsor: [4]

  • A successful event, like a fun run or a gala
  • A large membership database
  • A large, *engaged* following on social media
  • A visible, busy, or sought-after location
  • A strong, emotional mission, e.g working with children, saving puppies, aiding refugees

When considering your potential assets, go back to the previous section. You need to look at it from the point of view of your potential sponsor. Sponsorship is a sales transaction, not charity. There needs to be something in it for the sponsor.

To learn more about securing lasting sponsorship, come to our workshop.

Click here to register Wednesday, September 18, 2019. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to all aspects of running a non-profit or a charity. Click here for our event calendar. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.

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Related blog posts:

[1] Statistia, "Global Sponsorship Spending from 2007 to 2018," Statista, 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 1 August 2019]. [2] Run Ottawa, "Sponsors and Partners," Ottawa Race Weekend, May 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 1 August 2019]. [3] J. Fritz, "How to make your nonprofit attractive to corporate sponsors," The Balance Small Business, 5 June 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 1 August 2019]. [4] J. Waters, "How to Get Sponsorships like a Pro," Wild Apricot, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 1 August 2019].
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