Best way to get sponsors for 5K charity race events?
I host 5K themed runs and are trying to maximize the signups for each race to get results for my 10 charities that I am supporting. I think the better prizes i have for people to win and sponsors i can get to help pay for the event, that the more people will show up to support the charities and make everyone happy.
I've done a few and we've always started early and with started social media, followed by running forums and event websites - you can usually place ads for free or at least post a promotion. We campaigned for both sponsors and participants. We'd put sponsorship and runner packets on the website, so they were easily available.
Some businesses will reach out to you if you advertise the race well. Smaller businesses donated items for runners' bags, larger companies would supply water, sports drinks, power bars, cash, prizes, etc. Local grocery stores donate gift cards and you can buy bananas, yogurt, etc. Local massage therapists offer 15 minute massages at the finish line, etc. Think of what runners need both before and after the race. Go to networking events and meet other business owners and let them know about your race. Focus on the communities you are holding the races in.
We'd follow-up with a mailing to local businesses where the race was being held and phone calls to larger businesses - visit them personally if feasible. They usually have a specific amount budgeted for donations to these things, so you have to approach them early in their fiscal year. Offer them free space to set up a table and distribute their donations at the race and offer runners a chance to get their own sponsorship. Attend other races in the area and ask if you can hand out your flyer to runners and sponsors. Distribute flyers at sneaker stores, health stores, local gyms, chiropractor's office etc. "Prizes" can include cash, gym memberships and sports equipment to attract runners. If you don't know, ask runners on forums what they would value.
Most important is to show your appreciation to your sponsors. Promote them with free ad space on your website and promotional materials, and remember to say Thank You to them - both privately and publicly.
Whatever way you approach sponsors or donors have three things in your hand: a letter explaining what you need, a flyer for the event, and a copy of your 501c(3).
First start with the charities: are there local businesses that normally donate to these causes? Many larger organizations have set charity types they donate to (children charities, animal charities, certain diseases, etc).
Second, target run/sport specific businesses to donate and even offer the opportunity for them to have a booth before or after the event: run stores, chiropractic practice, massage therapists, whole food stores,etc.
3. Finally - who do you know? Do you have a planning committee? Often, there's someone you know in your already-established network that can help get your foot in the door with a company to ask for donating toward the race.
You may find this useful: Nonprofit Marketing: A Quick Start Guide to Fundraising http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2267466/Nonprofit-Marketing-A-Quick-Start-Guide-to-Fundraising
Nothing will replace face-to-face conversations. A somewhat related question is what you do once you have a sponsor, and how can you get that sponsor to promote the event? Here is a page we put together for our 5K to encourage sponsors to get the word out to their constituents: http://5kraceforals.com/information-for-existing-sponsors/
Sponsorships are for many a grey area and raising sponsorships is not an easy task as sponsors are overwhelmed with different opportunities on an almost daily basis depending the popularity of the brand. Before starting to contact sponsors, make it clear for yourself what you want to achieve. Most importantly exactly research what sponsors want to get out of it. Is it visibility, is it client relations, is it media or other since.
What are sponsors interested in?
How much hard return do the sponsors get from their investment?
What is the loyalty that you can create for the brand?
How much sales can a sponsor make from the event?
Timing is I believe the biggest factor why most project fail in raising sponsorships. Usually a lead frame of min. 6 months after signing or longer depending the event planning size is required.
With that information you then can customize to the needs of the sponsor.
It doesn't make sense to send out your proposal to hundreds of different sponsors. A small test case is often enough to monitor sponsor interest in the project and the success.
After you have defined the sponsors who you wish to approach, create a very clear sponsorship proposal that informs in a short overview what the sponsor gets out of it. Your advantage is that you wish to support charity. With a greater importance of CSR for companies or brands it is definitely an advantage, but a selection of 10 different charities might be unclear and undervalue the integrity of sponsors. Be aware of this.
Another way is depending the event and recognition is to request a sponsor to include the event in their marketing planning to maximize recognition.
If you wish to raise prize money or barter prizes hotels often are interested to support as well as smaller organizations within the community. In return provide them exposure, event attendance for clients, distribution and booth opportunity. You then can agree with them that in return a donation box is placed in the booth and people donate to charity for the activity experienced.
There is a lot to discover on the internet about sponsorships. I advise in whatever direction you wish to go, is that you keep the proposal simple for a clear understanding. All the best. if you need more information, feel free to ask.
Passion4Share Creative Agency
I've done sponsorships from both sides. The best place to start is through your own professional and personal network of people who can introduce you to HR and Marketing departments at their places of work.
Marketing wise the event will not have a lot of ROI for the company, so its more of a good faith gesture, and including HR helps them create an event for employees to attend and participate in.
If you are going to host the runs, you need to get the charities involved. What businesses would be interested in supporting them? Obviously local stores may donate for prizes but you also want to find specific sponsors for each event which would be affiliated with the charities. Ask the charities who has helped in the past. Focus on face to face but also go to corporation websites and see what their policy is for event sponsorship.
I have done a few 5k runs, but mostly long distance cycling for charity. The websites that are used for fundraising are typically not up to the mark.
I have a few ideas( that are in the works) to develop both web pages and mobile apps for non-profits/ entities that host events such as yours.
A mobile application that will help get you an engaged community of runners is crucial. Once you have the app, it's easier to convince sponsors as their advertising in the app will be targetted to a specific group of people.
Even within the app , ads can be targetted into ads for people below age of 30, ads for seniors etc...The app can be used by runners to track miles they run for practice. App can be used for marketing future events. App can be used by runners to share details to their loved ones and so on. Let me know if you need more help on this. Good luck.
A lot of companies will donate products that can be used as prizes with no problem. Also if you can give a good guess as to the number of people that will be involved / exposed to the event you can use that as a way to show ROI to them, as in the number of brand exposures. Most of it is just reaching out to companies and asking. I would make a list of the companies that have some kind of connection to the town (or city) and shoot them an email, and then you can reach out to others via FaceBook and get a name and contact email to ask. I would also see about finding someone that is good at taking photos and get photos of people around the brands donations (and or signs) and send them back to them to show the interaction between the people and the brands.
Interesting answers and ideas! May I suggest you look into a "Reward Driven Fundraiser" platform. This helps you give worthwhile benefit services and products for their donation.
"Changing the way the world communicate"
A lot of great suggestions so far. One other thing that could really help is social media. Utilizing Facebook groups, Instagram, or some of the other less popular platforms can be a powerful way to draw people in. Promote the event, prizes, charities, etc. Utilize hashtags and geotags. Link the posts or profile back to your event website. That's what we've done with promoting our new preschool. It's proven to be quite effective.