One of the best ways you can make your alumni association financially sustainable is to get sponsorships from businesses and other organizations. This can help take some of the pressure off your organization to rely solely on memberships and donations from individual alumni.
Of course, actually finding those sponsorships is not necessarily going to be easy. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you find and secure sponsorships for your organization that can make a big difference.
Connect with alumni who own businesses
A natural first step is to solicit sponsorships from alumni you are already connected with who own their own businesses. These are people who already have some “skin in the game,” so to speak, with your organization, and have already seen its benefits firsthand. Your pitch to them won’t need to be as thorough or formal as it would be with a business you aren’t already connected with.
Targeting fellow alumni is a great first step because it will help you fine-tune your sponsorship processes and methods, and those alumni will also potentially be able to connect you with other business owners in their communities who might be interested.
Make sure the sponsors get some value
Sponsorships shouldn’t just be a one-way street. You can’t expect a business to give you a good chunk of cash without getting anything in return.
You need to be able to promise something of real value to your sponsors. The biggest thing you can offer is brand awareness; you can place their logos on your website, apparel, communications and signage at events. Depending on the type of business, you might also pledge to use their products as part of your operations or events.
Whatever you offer, make sure it’s something that actually would entice potential sponsors to give you money.
Create the opportunities
You never know what the answer will be from a potential sponsor unless you ask. Put together a strong sponsorship package that you can present to business owners. Start with those in your local community. Because alumni organizations are very much local in nature, it makes sense to approach local business owners with sponsorship opportunities.
Target your pitches to business owners you might already have a relationship with, or those who you have legitimate reason to believe will actually donate. Maybe they have a history of sponsoring other community organizations, or maybe you’re a frequent customer who’s on good terms with the owner.
Be proactive and seek out opportunities rather than waiting for them to come to you. The worst they can do is say “no.”
For more tips about getting sponsorships for your alumni association, contact us today at Alumni Nations!