Terms to know:
Donors – Individuals or organizations that donate money or auction items and expect nothing in return. They are passionate about the cause.
Sponsors – Typically an organization or business that donates money or goods in return for visibility throughout a fundraising project. They help cover the costs associated with running the fundraiser.
Overcoming the intimidation
Just because an event is virtual it doesn’t mean sponsors can’t be involved. While there may not be any on-stage sponsor message or placards on gala tables, Virtual Events and Online Auctions allow for endless new possibilities. Ready with advice and expert knowledge, Auction Frogs Engineer Alysa will use her firsthand experience to teach you how to communicate with sponsors and overcome any concerns.
“Our platform has amazing functionality — it’s pretty great! We’re here to help with the technology and make it work for you,” says Alysa.
Auction Frogs regularly meets with clients to showcase demos, track progress, answer questions, and more. After years of events, connecting with different communities, and successfully meeting goals, our expert team has answers and plenty of ideas for success.
How to Find Sponsors
Start your search for potential sponsors by taking a look at your network. Ask yourself: What points of interest intersect with different sponsors? Who does your organization connect with regularly? When was the last time you worked together? How can you help each other? Asking yourself these questions is a start to connecting with potential sponsors.
“It’s hard to get a sponsor who has no investment or interest in your organization. It’s really about trying to find the companies and businesses that you connect with, whether you use their services, you know someone who works there, or they’ve worked with you in the past, etc,” Alysa explains.
Board members play a key role in the search for sponsors by helping you connect with their broader network. Spread awareness about your organization, strengthen your support network, and add to the circle of people who are dedicated to and involved in your fundraising initiatives.
Checking business websites is another way to learn more about potential sponsors. There could be information about the size of their organization (hinting at their ability to sponsor), who they are (including causes they’re passionate about), and how to contact them. Sometimes a potential sponsor will say no, but receiving many “no’s” is worth getting to a “yes” and a valuable relationship with someone who will likely support your efforts for years to come.
As you search for sponsors and secure their place on your list, it is important to be clear about what recognition they get in return for their support.
How to Connect (Virtually!)
Hosting an event online allows for organizations to interact with sponsors beyond banners, placards, and designated tables. With online promotions, event and social media posts can be viewed without a time limit, by a broader audience, and shared endlessly.
Virtual Events and Online Auctions are completely customizable, meaning that we work with each organization in a way that best suits their needs. We’ve created a packet of options that offer sponsors unique and relevant exposure.
Here are a few ideas from our sponsorship packet:
- Name/logo listed on the auction site homepage
- Social media promotion with relevant tags
- A highlight/shoutout during the live stream
- 1-2 minute video interview with the emcee during the live stream
Leaderboard Sponsor – Be featured in the design of the leaderboard and featured throughout the Virtual Event live stream in real-time.
Matching Sponsor – Match funds for the fund-a-need segment of the Virtual Event; Name, logo, and 1-2 minute video feature, plus social media promotion.
Auction Item Sponsor – Help purchase items or experiences for the Online Auction.
VIP Box Sponsor – VIP boxes full of branded swag are sold before the Virtual Event and arrive just in time for Watch Parties.
Technology Sponsor – The auction site will feature their logo, have a dedicated customized information page, and more.
Watch Party Sponsor – Organize a small in-person watch party at Auction Frogs or a location of your choice. Exclusive signage rights at the watch party venue, online features, and more.
Virtual Events are live, hour-long, emcee-hosted events streamed online for supporters to tune in, hear stories, engage, and donate from anywhere. Visually appealing, shareable, innovative, and user-friendly, Virtual Events highlight sponsors and even involve them in more engaging ways.
With a lot of options, we make sure to cover what’s available when we meet one-on-one. “Every client is different in what they do with sponsorships,” says Alysa. “It’s important to discuss priorities and the best ways for them to encourage sponsors with appropriate recognition.”
Thinking Outside the Box
Sharing on social media allows for engaging and creative opportunities. Highlighting sponsors adds another layer of involvement and community. Organizations can not only highlight sponsors, but sponsors can share links to the events as well, effectively increasing traffic to Online Auctions and Virtual Events.
A Social Media Ambassador might be the right option for you if you’re looking to increase peer-to-peer sharing. Fundraising Ambassadors can be supporters that may not be able to contribute monetarily but would like to help and contribute to your organization’s fundraising goals. This can take place in many different ways, but below are a couple of examples.
Table Captain – Encouraging competition between different “tables” and incentivizing the “table” that raises the most money through sharing social media posts.
10 for $2500 – The numbers are flexible, but you can make it a goal to have 10 people through social media donate $250 each to reach $2500. This means you’re on your way to reaching your fundraising goal before the big event even starts, and you’re simultaneously spreading the word about your Online Auction and Virtual Event.
Encouragement from a Social Media Ambassador can not only boost engagement but also boost donations.
For previous events, we have seen clients share short commercials from sponsors during Virtual Events, pre-recorded interviews with sponsors, virtual Q&A’s, scrolling sponsor banners on their auction site, and more!
Meeting with our talented Auction Engineers is a great start to understanding how connecting sponsors virtually can still be a fun and rewarding experience.