SVG File-02

Nonprofit's Guide To Event Sponsorship

Author: Adie M.
Talk about sponsporships

Events can be time-consuming and stressful to plan, but successful fundraising events can be game-changers for nonprofit organizations

They can generate much-needed financial aid from partners and those attending the event. At the same time, they are the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with sponsors and the community and so contribute to expanding your cause. 

But do you need a sponsor for your event? How do you find them, what would they want in return, and how do you go about asking a company to sponsor you?

What Is An Event Sponsor?

Similar to a prospect, an event sponsor is a corporation or business, organization, individual, or community group that gives your nonprofit money to host an event. In exchange, they’ll receive goodwill and publicity for sponsoring your event.

Organizations would pay for their sponsorship out of their marketing budget, philanthropy budget, or from their annual profit.

Why Are Sponsors Important For The Success Of Your NPO's Event?

Events are costly. While their purpose is to raise funds for your cause, you have to draw up a budget to ensure you make more than the event costs you. To this end, a sponsorship will go a long way in covering your expenses and you can focus on the actual fundraising. 

Sponsors are valuable marketing and promotional partners. Once they’ve committed to sponsoring your event, they will want their audience and customers to know about it too. Through their own social media and other marketing activities, they help the nonprofit they’re sponsoring raise awareness of your cause. 

They also create positive press and help you build new relationships with people in your community. 

What Sponsors Get In Return

Some businesses will sponsor your event because the cause resonates with them or out of the kindness of their hearts. However, most will do it because there is something in it for them. 

This could be brand building, advertising, connecting with potential customers, or generating community goodwill. 

NPO event organizers could offer to place their name or logo on event materials and signage or display a banner or booth at the event. Sponsorship recognition can extend to print materials, branded T-shirts, and websites. You could also give them priority/VIP access and exclusive interviews at the event. 

Rewards that are easy to put in place include shoutouts on your website and social media pages. Or, you can build your own BiddingOwl online charity auction website where you can add logos and links to their websites. You can also sell ad space, offer email sponsorship, catalog ad space, and boost event recognition. 

Woman with glasses working on laptop

Who To Ask To Sponsor Your Event

There are four broad groups of event sponsors. Some will give cash or in-kind sponsorships while others will provide media and marketing opportunities. 

Financial Sponsors

Financial sponsors are the most important. This is because they offer much-needed cold, hard cash in exchange for publicity or other benefits. If you’re hosting a large event, you can create individual event sponsorship packages or sponsorship levels with different levels of rewards. 

Decide on how much money you need, and then define sponsorship levels. For instance, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, etc., and how much money each will need to give. Then work out what rewards each tier will get in return. 

Goods Or Services Sponsorships

These are ‘in-kind’ sponsorships that can cover large expenses associated with events. Types of in-kind sponsorships include the venue for the event (one survey report showed 72% of event attendees say an event’s location is an important factor in deciding whether they will attend or not). Others in this category include food and prize sponsorships. 

Digital sponsorships are also growing in popularity and can be highly effective if you’re hosting an online event, such as an auction. Other digital sponsorships can be linked to Q&A sessions digitally, live Tweeting, or setting up media walls. 

Media Sponsors

Securing a media sponsor such as local TV or radio station or a digital newspaper can significantly increase the value and appeal of your event to sponsors. In fact, it’s a good idea to focus on media sponsorships before you approach your financial sponsors. 

A media sponsor might pay for an advertisement in a local paper or cover the cost of filming your event. Media will also post information about your event on their social media channels. Or you can ask them to publish an article or blog post about your event and NPO on their website.

Promotional Sponsors

Promotional partners are those who are considered to be influencers, public figures, and local celebrities. They are normally well known within the community and have large social media followings. 

You can approach them to help you promote your event to their own customer or fan bases. Many will be happy to be associated with a cause close to their heart (in return for exposure) and may do it for free.

How To Identify Potential Sponsors

The best sponsors will have a mission or values that align with those of your nonprofit’s. When you approach them, don’t just throw out a cookie-cutter message. Rather, take your time to explain why this matters to you and them and what you have in common. 

Your sponsor should share audience demographics with you. The most successful corporate sponsorships are created when your nonprofit and your corporate sponsors target the same groups of people.

Look for businesses that have sponsored similar fundraising events in the past. That’s usually a good indication they’ll support you.

Finally, always offer the first choice of sponsorship to those organizations and individuals who sponsored your events in the past. If your event produced a good return on investment, your previous sponsors will most likely partner with you again.

Making a deal with sponsor


With the right sponsor, your nonprofit can quickly increase the total revenue generated by your fundraising event. By strategically choosing your sponsors, your chances of success increase dramatically. 

Start by identifying the type of sponsorship you most need, and customize your approach to ensure you have the best chance of getting them on board. 

Make good on the promises you made them in return for support, and be sure to give them a great experience at the event. That way you can rest assured they’ll most likely be back next year.