Sponsorship is the financing of an organisation, project or event by a corporation in return for benefits such as marketing opportunities, skills interchange or improved community reputation.
If you are looking for corporate sponsorship then contact the External Funding Service and we can help you through the process. We may also be able to suggest potential sponsors.
Most importantly, Sponsorship is not a donation. It is crucial to remember that you’re not asking for money but offering a partnership with mutual benefit – essentially, you’re selling a service in return for funding. A corporation will generally not be interested in contributing unless they can anticipate some return on their investment.
Another key difference is that it is unusual for companies to advertise their interest in sponsorship, and will not have publicly designated outcome targets. It is up to you to track down a likely candidate and convince them of the benefit to their organisation. Then, once a sponsor is secured, you will need to maintain their interest as they can withdraw support for any reason if the benefits are not obviously coming to fruition.
This will vary depending on the kind of organisation you are. Some examples include: Marketing, employee volunteering opportunities, seminars/training events relevant to your organisation (presentation skills/community involvement etc), hospitality opportunities, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), employee discounts, contacts, offsetting bad publicity, brand association, community integration.
How you do this depends greatly on the type of project and various current circumstances. Think about what you can offer and who might like to be associated with you, but also think about your own needs as an organisation. Be creative! Here are some suggestions:
There is no official procedure for applying for corporate sponsorship, but again the key is to be creative. Arts & Business have put together a concise 5-step plan, which is available on their website here (under factsheets). Regardless of whether or not you’re an arts-based organisation, it’s a good starting point.
Sponsorship contributions and the services you provide in return will both be affected by tax. Given the complex and impermanent nature of tax law we suggest the best way to make sure you don’t fall foul is to speak to a professional while you’re planning your approach. Citizen’s Advice Bureau should be able to help you understand your situation.