Defraying event costs, aka, finding sponsors

Courtesy Mike McDonald*

Courtesy Mike McDonald*

This final post on cemetery fundraising focuses on something that’s all too often overlooked in event planning—getting sponsors.

If your association or society loves the idea of raising money but is hesitant about some of the upfront costs, ask local businesses to step in as a sponsor. They get to write off the expense as a charitable donation to a worthy cause (as long as you are a viable 501(c)(3)), and you get help minimizing the event expenses.

Here are some possible sponsor ideas to kick around:

  1. If you’re hosting an athletic event, ask the local grocery store to donate bottles of water or Gatorade.
  2. Ask local high school/college coaches to help out with keeping time or refereeing.
  3. Athletes also need numbered bibs for the competitors so see if the local printer might donate these, and then check with the local arts and crafts store about donating some snazzy pins.
  4. Need space? Perhaps the local VFW would donate the use of their hall and tables if you’re hosting a chess or bingo tournament.
  5. Event insurance coverage is another biggie so check with your local financial and insurance planners to see if either one or a combination of businesses might chip in to cover the costs.
  6. Clean up crew. Yes, after the fun ends and everyone goes home, the trash is always left behind. Why not get a sponsor to help pay for the cleanup?

And on that note, don’t forget to let everyone know how much you appreciate your sponsors. Sure they’re getting a tax write-off, but it’s still cash they could be spending on their business.



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