One of the ways WBN members “make a difference” is by joining a charitable Board of Directors. Whether it’s your local school, or a charity that is close to your heart, there is usually an expectation to help out finding sponsors for your organization’s programs.

I’m guessing you’re less keen on that part of your Board commitment – the finding sponsors part.

It’s no wonder that you’re not keen on finding sponsors: you’re an accountant, a lawyer, a businesswoman. You’ve never learned how to seek out sponsorships!

So, as part of MY “making a difference” contribution, here’s my crash course on sponsorship.

1 Sponsorship is NOT like a charitable donation. Sponsorships help businesses reach business goals.

2 Who do you represent?  What target audience can you help a business reach? What are their postal codes, their habits?

3 BEFORE you send ANY MATERIALS to anyone, ask for a meeting with your potential sponsor. Tell them you are not selling anything – you’re not!! – You are just going to listen to their business needs. This is a discovery meeting for you.  Ask if you can take notes. Leave early.

4 Proposals – People get completely stuck on these. They should be as customized as you can make them.  IF you talk about your organization, put it somewhere in the middle, not the front. This proposal is not about you – it’s about them!

5 Securing Sponsorships – YAY! You got the signature to sign off. Now the REAL work begins as you begin to “activate” this sponsorship.  Engage your sponsors, send them updates, and tell them what you’re doing to further their business goals. Be sure to track your activities on their behalf so they can receive a comprehensive report on how you worked with them on the sponsorship.  Stewardship is key, because it’s much easier to renew a sponsor than to find a brand new lead.

Those are my 5 key steps to sponsorship – my gift to you in this holiday season. I have it written up as a template that I am happy to share too. Just email me at for your copy.

Want to learn more about Sponsorship conversations, templates for solicitation and sponsor tracking forms to use with volunteers?  I’m running an online training class in January 2015. There’s some info on my website  or send me an email at to see if this is a good fit for you.

Have a great holiday season, and thank you for “making a difference” in your community!

Jenny Mitchell, Chavender

Revitalising you, and your organization through creative fundraising