Transparent Charity: The Sponsorship Model
16 October 2013
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Many people, including myself, are sometimes not entirely comfortable about not knowing where our donation money is going. The internal operations of any major charity function are like the inner workings of a major corporation, a certain percentage must be used on staff wages, marketing, with a host of other expenditures that come with being recognisable global name. Large charities are also burdened with the same problems that the large companies in the public sector suffer from, with a certain percentage of wastage being unavoidable.
One issue that resurfaces as a reason many people don’t give regularly to the major charities is that too much of this expenditure is unaccounted for, and many people are frustrated with having no idea how much of the money they have donated is being used for the intended cause.
The silver lining of this serious problem is that this feeling of uneasiness can make it easier for smaller charitable operations to function. Transparency is easier to achieve with a smaller, more manageable cause. In my personal charitable efforts I have championed the sponsorship model of fund raising.
A sponsorship model is a two way street between a charity and a business, working in tandem to put on an event. The charity receives help with the expense of the event; the business gains positive exposure and low cost marketing, among many other benefits discussed further in this article.
Businesses who sponsor charity concerts often receive free tickets, while promoting their brand in an altruistic light. It is a good idea to have a few words and place the logo or statement in the promotional literature from the company who sponsors your event, showing appreciation for the financial backing they your cause has received.
Sponsorship Model In Practise: Charity Concert
Musicians are likely to have performed at many charity events, and so may be reluctant to foot the bill of travel and their time for a smaller cause. By gaining a sponsor or multiple sponsors, musicians and performers can be paid for their time and efforts, which can ultimately mean a higher standard of entertainment and a win/win situation, as attendees get more for their money, and performers get real remuneration for their performance.
I recently took part in an example of this model in practise. I play spanish guitar, and was asked to help organise and perform at a fundraising concert to raise money to replace a church roof.
The lead from the roof had previously been stolen, leaving the aging structure in a state of disrepair. Using the sponsorship model, attendees purchased tickets in the full knowledge that every penny of their ticket price was going towards something palpable, in this case the repair of the roof. The businesses who sponsored the event gained tickets they could give to clients and were able to promote their business to local people, while getting behind a cause that benefitted the local community.
What The Business Stands To Gain
The lynchpin of the sponsorship model of fundraising is getting a local business on board. Ultimately they will potentially be footing the bill for the venue, the musicians/performers and extras such as promotional materials. Therefore it’s vital to illustrate fully what the business/s you target stand to gain.
What to offer businesses who sponsor your charity event:
Promotional Literature - Offer to include the company logo on any posters and promotional material that is used to advertise your event.
Mentions - Giving a short mention at the introduction/closing speech of your concert or performance is generally a given in these situations, as after all these businesses made the evening possible.
Display Brand Logos - Within the limits of good taste it could be feasible to display a few pieces of advertising around the venue, although it is of course the priority to advertise the cause of the event predominantly.
Free Tickets - Providing free ticket to you event can be an attractive offer for a business. Attending provides a business owner and staff an opportunity to network, an evenings entertainment for staff or an occasion to invite clients to.
Public Relations - The sponsorship of a charity event could be a prime opportunity for a public relations piece, so perhaps offers to liaise with the marketing team of the business you contact to give them enough details for a blog post, social media content and press release to send to local newspapers and media outlets.
Cheap Advertising\Positive Brand Perception - Being associated with a charitable cause is always positive for businesses, especially as more and more people are paying attention to the ethics and reputation of companies they deal with.
Instead of thinking like a fundraiser, think like a business. While it’s possible to gain funding from a purely philanthropic source, it is much easier to convince a business to back you and your cause financially, if there is also something substantial for them to gain too.
I personally think there are no downsides to an event which is organised in this manner if it can be pulled off, and have personally enjoyed a high level of success by taking the sponsorship route (the church now has a new roof). So instead of relying exclusively on volunteers, you may be surprised as to how willing businesses are get involved with a good cause if you can be persuasive.