Company or Brand Sponsorships
Company and brand sponsorships are influential in charity galas. A sponsorship differs from a donation in that in exchange for the sponsorship the company may be considered a partner in the gala and be held in a more prestigious position. A company should make an additional investment beyond its donation to be considered for a sponsorship.
Look to match sponsors with appropriate events in which there may be added benefits. You would not, for example, approach a cigarette company to sponsor a gala benefiting lung cancer research. Who would you approach to sponsor a marathon, a sneaker company or a fashionable boutique? The sneaker company would be the best choice since promoting sneakers would benefit both the marathon and the company selling the sneakers.
A brand sponsor is similar to a company sponsor with one exception. A brand sponsor may or may not have a product to sell. The brand sponsor may be offering a service or promoting a Web site. A health-care facility might be approached to be the brand sponsor for a gala benefiting asthma. An online dating service might partner with a nightclub on a singles night event. More examples of brand sponsors include:
Magazines and newspapers
Approaching a Company
Once you have decided who you would like to approach as your product or brand sponsor, you must then decide the best way to propose your event. You first must outline the event in a letter on your letterhead. Next, you will need the name of the person in charge of marketing or charitable causes. Calling the company to ask is perfectly acceptable. If the company is in your area, ask to meet with the person directly. Be sure to bring your letter and business card to leave with your contact. If the company is not within traveling distance, ask your contact if you may send a letter with the event's details. Check back in a week for a followup. Since it may take some time to secure a company or brand sponsor, factor a few additional months into the planning schedule. Approaching a company for a product donation can begin a month before the event. When the event is over, use the same idea for your product donation contacts. Convey in a message that the successful event was a result of their efforts and products. Ask that your event be placed on the calendar for the same time next year. Six months before next year's event, you can make contact again with a letter about the event, their previous year's donation, and the event's tax ID number
It is customary to sign a contract when a company is donating products to an event. The contents of the contract outline the amount of product donated, instructions for any extra product, and exclusiveness to the event.
Company interests might not always be apparent to the public. Be sure to add all of your sponsors to your donation letter. There may be connections between a company and its affiliates. The soda company offering the donation may own a water company. If you have secured a donation from a different water company, you will create a conflict of interest for the soda company.
Who signs the contract?
As an event planner, your signature is acceptable on the contract. Always have an associate or an employer look over contracts before signing in case a detail is overlooked. If you are working with other event planners, such as a facility planner and a catering manager, have the pair review the contract before you sign.
While you may approach a wine company for a donation to a gala, feel free to approach a gin company for a donation as well. Once your gin company contact agrees to donate product, she may require an exclusive right to the event for liquor product. The contract may state no other liquor, outside of beer and wine, to be served at the event. Or the contract might mention that the gin will be the only hosted or complimentary liquor served. The guests will pay for all other liquor beverages. The contract may also require the venue's alcohol license and insurance papers to be produced before delivering the gin.