In order to find funds to cover the expenses needed to organize the ENWA, you have several alternatives.

You can find financial sponsors or “in kind” sponsorship which is easier to negotiate for this type of event.

You can find financial sponsors to finance the printing costs of the project (posters, flyers, t-shirts,…). In exchange, you can offer them to place their logo on all printing material of the event, setting a banner in the nightclub and presenting the sponsor on your website (with a direct link to their website).

To finance the gifts you will offer to designated drivers who succeeded in remaining sober all night, we suggest you to contact some companies in order to have “in kind” sponsorship. It is quite easy to negotiate as you are offering them free sampling distribution with an added value and face to face distribution.
The kind of gadgets that you can ask is quite wide: chocolate bar, deodorants, cereals, soft drinks, razors, creams, …
The preparation of the pack with gifts is usually done by volunteers. We usually need 50 to 250 bags per nightclub according to its size. You have to ask for a precise amount of products according to your capacity of distribution.

To convince your potential sponsors, you will need to create a presentation file of the event and a letter explaining what you are requesting from the sponsor.

ENWA sampling 2010

What is sponsorship?
Sponsorship is an effective marketing and communication tool used by many businesses, organisations and government agencies, regardless of their size. Sponsorship is often mistakenly regarded as a form of corporate generosity. However, sponsorships are not donations, the sponsor expects their sponsorship will provide a measurable financial return.

The worthiness of your organisation or cause is not enough in itself to convince an organisation to sponsor you. When a business is approached with a sponsorship request, they are looking to see a solid business proposal that will help them achieving their business goals.

The general aim of sponsorship is to raise the profile of the sponsoring organisation, to sell more products or services and to reach particular target audiences. Sponsorship also promotes a positive awareness of the organisation with customers, potential customers and the community.

Most sponsorships are structured in the form of direct financial assistance, but this is not the only form of sponsorship. A second form is "in kind" sponsorship, which involves the sponsor providing equipment or resources. (e.g a hotel chain might offer discount or free accommodation as a form of 'in kind' support)

If your organisation is offered "in kind" sponsorship, make sure the goods or services will be useful, and that you explore the legal and tax implications of accepting in kind sponsorship. If you are offered such sponsorship, ask the sponsor to describe the limit, conditions and value of the "in kind" goods.

You also should remember that all sponsorships come with conditions and obligations. For instance, your sponsoring organisation may:
wish to be a sole or major sponsor
request that their logos, slogans or graphics appear on your promotional material
review your budget, strategic plan or other documents
wish to know about current or past sponsors
need to approve press releases and other material

Finding a financial sponsor
Begin by looking at organisations in the region, preferably the ones with strong health/road safety/night life/youngsters links. Companies that are located close to are often good potential sponsors.

If the event covers the whole country, you can look for national or international organisations, as larger organisations generally favour sponsoring a handful of high profile events. However, if a large organisation has headquarters or a large regional presence in your area, you should always consider approaching them for support.

When you approach an organisation to gain sponsorship, they will check that your activities and aims are consistent with their company. Likewise, you should thoroughly research your potential sponsors - and make sure that you actually want to be involved with them. A poor sponsor could detrimentally affect the credibility and reputation of your organization. The alcohol industry is willing to support those type of events but you have to decide if you agree to receive their support or not.

Many publicly listed companies are required by law to produce an annual report, which can provide valuable background on a company, its aims, philosophy and major business areas. Press releases, advertisements and other promotional material can also provide useful background on how an organisation is positioning itself.
Thorough background research will help you determine if you want to become involved with a company, and if you do, it will provide a good basis for customising and 'pitching' your sponsorship proposal.

At some point, you will need to balance the costs and the benefits of any sponsorship. Some sponsors are quite relaxed, while others are more demanding. In any case, time and effort will need to be spent looking after the needs of your sponsor or sponsors. You will have to balance this effort against the resources, money or assistance that you sponsor offers.

Contacting potential sponsors
Unless you are very lucky, or have an extremely high profile project, it is unlikely that you will be approached by an organisation willing to offer you sponsorship. You will have to make the first step.

First, you should call or write to the organisation, and ask about their sponsorship policy. You might also obtain the correct name and address of the person responsible for handling sponsorships, and deadlines for sending sponsorship proposals. Many larger organisations have pre-existing sponsorship guidelines which they will happily send to you.

The most commonly accepted way of seeking sponsorship is by writing a sponsorship proposal and forwarding it to potential sponsors. It is possible to present a verbal case for sponsorship, but a written proposal is much easier for the potential sponsor to review and analyse.

List the benefits
Your first step in putting together a sponsorship package is to determine what, within your organization/event, is "marketable". List every tangible and intangible benefit you could potentially offer a sponsor. You are unlikely to promote all the benefits on your list, but it will help you understanding what you have to offer to a sponsor.
Potential benefits may include the setting of their logo on the flyer, poster and other promotional material of the event, or the amount of media coverage you can attract through the event, or the chance for your sponsors to meet government representatives involved with your project, ...

You need to put a price on these benefits, which may be somewhat daunting to newcomers. This will allow you to accurately value your organisation on the sponsorship marketplace. Remember that you are asking the sponsor to take a risk on your organisation, and you are looking to establish a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

Writing a sponsorship proposal
Each organisation you approach will have different requirements, and will ask that you provide specific information in your proposal. Remember to follow any sponsorship guidelines provided by a potential sponsor.

Your mission when writing a sponsorship proposal is to succinctly introduce your organisation/event, provide some background on your organisation/event, and to present a logical, well researched argument on why your organisation/event is worth sponsoring. Remember that the person reading your proposal may not have heard of your organisation/event, so never assume that they know who you are, or what you do. Try to create a proposal that is creative, unique and attention grabbing, without being smart or cute.

The sponsorship proposal is essentially a business pitch, so it should be professionally presented in terms of content and layout even if you are a small association. You should always try to keep it as brief as possible, and try to address the following basic points:

provide a concise overview of your organisation and event. Include your location, main activities and goals, a brief history of your organisation, and an overview of the event evolution (nationally and across Europe).

include the benefits that your organisation can offer a sponsor, and demonstrate how these benefits relate to the sponsor's values, business goals and activities. Place a financial value on each benefit

list the credentials of your organisation and key personnel. The sponsor needs to know that they will be dealing with experienced and professional individuals.

supply a list of current and past sponsors (if applicable). The organisation you are approaching will want to review the background of existing sponsors, and check that you are not being sponsored by a competitor.

outline any rights that you are prepared to offer the sponsor. Will the organisation be an exclusive or major sponsor? Alternatively, will it be one of many sponsors?

explain the nature and extent of any favourable media coverage the event already received, and include brief examples

supply a realistic estimate of the amount of people you are reaching through the event

demonstrate the current level of community support and awareness for your project. Sponsors have a strong interest in supporting projects that have wide community support

Timing your request
Sponsors usually take between one and six months to assess sponsorship requests. The time taken will vary according to the size of the sponsoring organisation, the amounts being requested, and the overall complexity of your submission.

Many organisations have ongoing sponsorship agreements that account for 70% or more of their sponsorship budget. The remaining proportion is set aside for new sponsorship proposals. Companies typically assess new sponsorship proposals and confirm their sponsorship budget in the 3-6 month period preceding a new financial year. So, as already mentioned, you need to investigate the most appropriate time to send your proposal.

An unsuccessful request
It is quite likely that some or many of your sponsorship proposals will be declined, so it makes sense to target a number of organisations. Many organisations receive hundreds of sponsorship proposals a year, and assess them on a range of factors - many of which are beyond your control. Always accept declined sponsorship requests with good grace, as sponsors are sure to remember if you are rude.

Common mistakes
Sponsorship experts say unsuccessful sponsorship proposals are often related to:

a lack of research and preparation
improperly addressed direct mail (if you send proposals to a number of different organisations, make sure the right proposal goes to the right address)
a failure to understand the interests of the prospective sponsor
not knowing the donation policies of the prospective sponsor
over-valuing the sponsorship proposal

Implications of sponsorship
Getting involved in a sponsorship agreement is a major undertaking, and any sponsorship offer should be carefully considered. Sponsorship is a legally binding agreement where your organization provides prearranged benefits to the sponsor, in return for an agreed level of support (be it financial or 'in kind' support).

It is important that you negotiate a realistic and mutually beneficial sponsorship agreement, and clearly establish all obligations, conditions and benefits. While you can come to a verbal agreement on a sponsorship, it is far better to create some kind of written agreement. This minimises the chance of any misunderstandings or disagreements. The agreement can be in the form of a legal document, or written out in everyday language. Always remember that your agreement, either written or verbal, is a legal contract.

Consequently, either party can be sued for breach of contract if they fail to meet the obligations outlined in the sponsorship agreement. This is why it is vital to ensure that you can deliver on every promise made in the sponsorship agreement. If your organization is unable to meet a sponsorship obligation, you should immediately inform your sponsor and negotiate a new or modified agreement.

At a minimum, the agreement should solidify your relationship, describe and detail the responsibilities of both parties and include some means for addressing any problems that may crop up.

Report after the event
sure you maximise your sponsorship opportunities by:

taking every opportunity to publicly thank and acknowledge the involvement of your sponsor

displaying the sponsor's logo, banner or slogan whenever required by your agreement

honouring the sponsorship agreement. If you said that your sponsor would get increased media coverage, you will need to demonstrate this by sending them copies of media releases, articles and other news stories.

regularly maintaining signs, displays or other materials that mention the sponsor

Keeping your sponsors
It is in your interests to establish a long-term relationship with your sponsor. This involves inviting your sponsor to attend your events and activities, and providing them with regular progress reports.

Be aware that the sponsorship market can be competitive, and that you may have to work hard to retain your sponsors. You should constantly be monitoring your sponsor's business and trying to make certain that your activities remain relevant to the sponsor. By doing this, you will put yourself in a good position for negotiating a new sponsorship agreement. When a sponsorship arrangement is being reviewed, demonstrating that you understand the sponsor's business and needs is vital.

SOURCE: Waterwatch sponsorship guidelines

ENWA | Participants | History | Pictures | Training | Material | Press | Links | Contact