Read Part 1 talking about presenting sponsorship levels and program history.
Make sure that you have a few different tiers of sponsorship. Have a basic level that will be your entry point for new businesses and organizations to come in. I usually put that between $500 and $1,500 depending on the size of the event. You want to have a middle level to upgrade those businesses to, and a higher level for your major supporters. The middle level could be anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the size of your event. For a high level sponsor I’d put the level somewhere between $5,000 to $10,000. If you have a huge event you might have another level in there but do not set too many levels or it gets confusing. I think 3 to 5 levels is a good start. If you are a small event with just a couple hundred people $5,000 might be your presenting level.
Think about who you are approaching. If you are approaching a big business they probably have or with the right amount of cultivation could be a major sponsor at some point for you. If you are working with local stores and small family businesses they will probably give in the $500 to $1,000 range. Asking businesses for the right amount is important make sure you are cultivating existing sponsors and that you know something about them (see my post on Making “The Ask” and Prospect Research).
Another thing you can do with sponsors that cover hard costs is provide them with a sponsorship for an in-kind gift or in-kind and cash gift. I would only do this if they cover a hard cost. Some example might be if you have a sponsor that creates your annual video for you for no charge, or you are getting medical supplies for no charge, or services. Make sure that it is something that you will actually use not just a general in-kind service.
It is hard to set levels and set a hard rule for all events. If you have specific questions or you have sponsorship levels at your organization please post them below. Another time I will talk about sponsorship benefits and what kinds of benefits you can offer and what businesses are looking for. My next couple posts will probably be about how to find donors or transparency in giving. Thanks for your comments and please post any ideas or questions.