Schools always have projects that need funding. We’ve previously talked about how teachers are sometimes forced to fund classroom [and school] projects out of their own pockets. Developing a partnership with local businesses and companies is usually the go-to solution for bridging that fiscal gap.
Whether you are a teacher, principal, school administrator, PTA/PTO member, or school club leader, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of school projects and events is how to fund them. Sponsors play a huge role in offsetting some of the costs. They are the difference between your school successfully hosting an event and/or funding a project.
The good news is there are plenty of companies and businesses willing to sponsor your school. They want to be the partners that help their local schools and children in their community as well as boost awareness of their company.
So, how do you move from thinking about how to get sponsors to actually getting them? In this article, we give you ten tips for getting school sponsors.
This is the most obvious tip.
There is a saying that goes; ‘If you don’t ask a question, you are never going to know what the answer is’. This certainly applies when asking for sponsorship.
The major reason why businesses don’t sponsor schools is that no one approached them for help. It is quite simple; if you don’t ask, you don’t receive. It is understandable why many people are afraid of asking for help. It could be the fear of rejection. It is normal to hesitate when asking for help. But while nine out of ten businesses you approach may give you a ‘No’, it is the one ‘Yes’ that matters.
In connection to the above point, you don’t want a ‘No’ to discourage you from pursuing a sponsorship. Remember the most successful people did not achieve success on their first try. You have to pick yourself up and try again, this time with a stronger mindset. The ‘No’ could simply mean ‘Not right now’.
Don’t assume the opportunity is closed forever. The very act of asking could be an opportunity to create a connection for potential future sponsorships. It is an opportunity for you to know more about the company’s philanthropic purposes, which will give you a reason to stay in touch.
A business/company’s financial circumstances are fluid. If a potential sponsor gave you a ‘No’ last time you asked, that is not the end of the road. The company could have a change of policy and staff, making it easier for them to sponsor your school. Keep asking. You never know when circumstances might change in your favor.
The potential sponsor wants to know exactly what they will achieve by sponsoring you. Sure, they want to get involved in philanthropic activities, but what is in it for them? They will give out free t-shirts for a charity run, but how will this enhance their reputation within the community? It is your duty to convince them. For instance, if you anticipate 500 people at your event, specify this number. This will help the sponsor know exactly the impression their company/business will make on the attendees, which will incentivize them to sponsor your school.
If you want that company or big business to sponsor your school, it is only fair that you inform them early. Remember, they are working on a budget and they need ample time to prepare. For all we know, your school is not the only one competing for a sponsorship. If you wait until the last minute, you are most likely going to miss out. Know your potential sponsor’s giving cycle and plan accordingly.
This comes down to picking the right sponsor. You have to ask yourself, how is the sponsorship going to be perceived by the community? Ultimately, both parties want their reputations to be enhanced on the other side of the sponsorship. Before approaching a company, ask the parents, PTA, and other concerned groups about their views. The last thing you want is reputational damage for you and your sponsor.
This is one of the perks that your potential sponsor will enjoy for partnering with you. Make sure you publicize their involvement with your school projects. This could be on social media, print media, or TV. Ultimately, they want to bask under the glory of being philanthropists. If you have partnered with other sponsors before and publicized that involvement, make sure the company or business you approach knows that. It will whet their appetite.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to be show gratitude to your sponsor. Strive to make it personal. Don’t simply send a ‘thank you’ email. For example, you could have a special award for them and name it ‘school champion’ in order of their corporate citizenship. Even better, have some of the pupils/students present the award to the company’s representatives. Having such a reputation for gratitude will endear you to potential sponsors.
Once you ‘nail’ a sponsor, don’t let that be your last engagement. It is advisable to keep the door open for future partnerships by occasionally updating them about the progress of your school. This will make them feel important and more willing to partner with your school again.
Introduce different sponsorship tiers depending on the needs and the sponsor’s budget. This will motivate the potential sponsors to partner with your school in exchange for something like scaled promotion and advertisement opportunities. This could be on the school website, social media pages, etc. You could offer them an opportunity to be a special guest at your school’s annual music program.
With effort, due diligence, and ‘spoiling’ your sponsors, you can get businesses and companies clamoring to sponsor your school. Apply the above ten tips and you will be on your way to nailing down an excellent sponsor who will add much value to your school and most importantly, create lasting partnerships. All the best!
Do you need help in coordinating your fundraising activities? LeanStream is more than proud to be your partner. Please get in touch today and let us work together to make schools a better place for our children.