Successful Virtual Sponsorships
Not all revenue streams translate to the virtual fundraising world. So let’s reimagine sources of revenue to fund your cause! Like sponsorships. Sponsors LOVE virtual! Read on to find out why and how you can capitalize.
It all comes down to THIS! More folks see sponsor logos when they appear in a virtual gala (VG) or fundraising event. That’s because, when marketed properly, VGs can expand your reach and be viewed over and over again (when posted to a highly searchable place like YouTube or similar and are tagged appropriately) as opposed to an in-person event, where they’ll only be visible the one time to folks in the flesh. It goes without saying – the more people who see sponsor logos, the happier your sponsors will be.
Analyze the data (it’s easy in a digital format!) and use it to make your case for sponsorships that generate additional revenue for your org and net you more fundraising dollars. It doesn’t have to cost you anything but you can up sponsorship levels by offering sponsors certain perks within your VG. Let’s discuss some ways you can innovate your sponsorship packages.
Data tells us that the live portion of your live stream event shouldn’t be longer than 30-45 minutes or you’ll lose people. But don’t forget about the preshow! It’s what folks see before the live portion of your VG. It generally runs for approximately 15-30 minutes before showtime. It serves several purposes: Letting folks know they’re in the right place, educating them on how to give, bid or buy, and reinforcing your mission. It’s not nearly as heavily-produced as your VG, but it does include important information for your viewers – registration instructions and a help line. Here’s a great opportunity for sponsor logos! Throw them up there on a full-screen and delight your sponsors. You can also invite sponsors to produce short videos that can be part of your preshow loop. The time in your actual show, however, is much more valuable. So if your sponsors want brand recognition there, you can upsell those slots to presenting sponsors.
Pro tip: Create a digital program to send out to folks BEFORE the pre-show. You can consider this your pre-pre-show! Include information on what’s coming up in the show. Place the program on your mobile bidding site and email it to registered guests. Then recycle that digital program in your pre-show. You only have to create it once but you’ll get plenty of use out of it!
Premium Perks for Presenting Sponsors
Your beautifully-produced VG live stream is the place where premium perks should be! Perhaps you offer up a 30 second video vignette for a premium or presenting sponsor, in addition to the other perks you’ve included. They get to gush about why they love and support you while subtly advertising for themselves. You can also thank them live – have your emcee or auctioneer give a shout-out to presenting sponsors during your VG. Maybe your presenting sponsor’s logo is a permanent fixture on your live stream production, or perhaps their CEO gets to narrate one of your anchor videos during the show.
Perhaps gold and silver sponsors could score a 15 second vignette. Bronze sponsors could be incentivized with logo placement, or whatever brand recognition you can think of! Get creative. For every lost opportunity with the in-person format, there’s ten ways to recognize your sponsors in virtual land. Maybe one of your supporters would like to sponsor a live auction item, for a mention when that item is sold. Your special appeal is another time to show your sponsors the love – you can mention that a certain level of giving is brought to you by Sponsor! Even more fun, precede your appeal with a short vignette from a sponsor challenging viewers to give and give big! Giving begets giving – and it’s so much fun when we get in that zone! Raffle prizes, incentive drawings – all opportunities for sponsor shout-outs. What can YOU come up with?
How do your sponsors want to be recognized? Ask them! Maybe they have ideas you could execute during your VG. They’ll not only appreciate being a part of the process, they’ll care more about the results if they have some skin in the game. And when orgs give sponsors what they want, they have a stronger case for why the sponsorship was worth it. And maybe the sponsors will be even more generous in the future!
Where there’s pre-show, there’s a post-show – as the name implies, the short period (generally 5-15 minutes) after your Dynamic Duo signs off. Sometimes it’s a band playing live music or a DJ spinning tunes. Often the chat is still going strong as people talk about what they just watched. Sometimes a virtual dance party breaks out! This is another beautiful spot for sponsor recognition on a smaller scale because not as many folks are watching. But it’s still an opportunity!
We love the chat feature in virtual land. It’s fun and it’s engaging and it’s social! It’s also a great place to say thank you to your sponsors again. Have your org assign a team member to the chat. Since we do the same, your sponsors will feel the love again and again and from multiple different sources. And they won’t forget it!
Social Media Shout-Outs
You’re wrapped up in your VG, which you should be, but don’t forget about social media! Assign a member of your org to thank your sponsors over social media while your VG is happening. You may very well see a spike in numbers which you can then leverage for even more fundraising dollars next time! And definitely remember to acknowledge your sponsors leading up to the big event and post event as well. Can one thank someone too much? We think not.
We love the new land of virtual and sponsors do too! In fact, it is one of the areas we’ve noticed the most growth in virtual fundraising during 2020. If you’re keeping your VG viewable after the initial show (and if you’re taking our advice you are!), the sky’s the limit as to how many people could see sponsor logos. Here’s but one example: just over 600 people watched our original VG for Catlin Gabel which aired in March, 2020. As of January 2021, it has now been viewed more than five thousand times! Think your sponsors might enjoy those kind of numbers? We do!
Contact us and together let’s make the most of your sponsor outreach. Ready to change the world? Let’s go!