Close the Deal
After considering and developing a list of potential sponsors, deciding on what can be sponsored and creating basic proposal ideas, the event planners can begin formally contacting and pursuing sponsorships.
It is usually a good idea to conduct informal introductory talks prior to calling on a sponsor. This can be used as a way of finding out the interest level of a company wanting to sponsor the event and perhaps the amount of sponsorship a company might be interested in. This information can be useful in developing a solid rough draft proposal and can serve as a sound starting point for the negotiations.
Then when you meet and present the offer formally to the company, they can examine and discuss the opportunity and “tweak” the deal to meet their needs and expectations. Remember when making a formal proposal to talk about The American Legion as an organization as well as the event itself. It is important to be honest and up-front with sponsors to let them know what our organization stands for and to make clear the objectives of the event. After familiarizing the company with the organization and the event, discuss the proposal and mention that it can be changed and revised to meet the needs of that firm. It is easier to have a rough draft in-hand to provide a starting point. The company will let you know whether they want more or less. Also consider putting proposals in “packaged” form with multiple choices; sort of a menu-type idea.
It is important to be flexible in this stage, but it is also important to remember that expenses must be paid somehow and that the company will be getting benefits in return for their support. Companies will not be interested if they do not think they will receive a return on their investment. Give the company some time to think about the opportunity, but also let them know the importance of time and schedule follow-up talks.