Event Sponsorship Template (Or the Best Spreadsheet Ever)

Conventional wisdom tells us that sponsorship revenue can and should make up a sizable chunk of the revenue stream for most fundraising events. At United South End Settlements we have two sponsored events, a gala with levels starting at $50,000 and a craft beer tasting event that starts at $5,000. In both cases, we determine our goal and track our progress using this Event Sponsorship Pyramid (will download as an Excel doc). This is a great tool to use with committee members, as it helps you lay out the strategy for your http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/viagra/ goal and also demonstrates how much work is required. The example filled into the chart, which is actually the plan for our upcoming Brewers Helping Neighbors, shows that to earn $22,500 we are shooting for 15 sponsors. To secure 15 sponsors, we are pitching to over 50. With all those moving parts, it is great to have such a simple tracking system. Sadly, I can take no credit for it. the pyramid was designed by our Vice President of Advancement Tom O’Toole, who super generously allowed me to share it.

Well played, Future Chefs!

Future Chefs LogoEight months in, I have not abandoned my resolution to attend 12 fundraising events in 2013. Recently, I attended a pop up lunch at Future Chefs, a fantastic youth development and culinary training organization.  (I am so excited to be on their fundraising committee and you should check them out.) The event was fantastic, but the greatest learning point caught me completely by surprise.

This was not exactly a fundraiser – it was more of what the Benevon model calls a “point of entry” – but I am including it anyway because ultimately one hopes these events will lead to increased support over time.  I enjoyed the pop up lunch quite a bit. There was excellent food, a chance to meet participants and alumni, mini-presentations highlighting the program, and an opportunity to chat with some folks that I’d like to have better connections with. So, with that winning recipe, of course I was inspired to make a donation.

To make a donation online, the Future Chefs website directs the donor to a Paypal http://healthsavy.com/product/zovirax/ portal. The surprise came after I completed the transaction and was directed back to the Future Chefs website to a “Thank You” page  which illustrates the impact donations make by highlighting recent accomplishments. This is such a simple step to take, but for some reason most of us do not do it. I was able to experience this as a donor, and it really made me excited about the gift I had just made. At a point where I would have just moved on to my next task, redirecting me to this page at a time when I was already engaged was a clever way to build goodwill and pass on a little extra knowledge.

But…very quickly I switched to fundraiser mode, and so I called a colleague into my office to look over it with me. I am happy to say that we are in the midst of a website redesign at United South End Settlement, and we will definitely be adding this feature.

4 Things I have Come to Regret



Over the last few weeks I have come up against some tasks that were made significantly more difficult by past decisions – some of them mine, some of them by predecessors.  In each case I can see why these Worst Practices seemed like a good idea at the time so I am lumping them all together and shaking a fist.
Continue reading

Notes from the Field, Part 2

When I posted about my 2013 professional resolution to attend 12 fundraising events this year, I didn’t realize exactly how busy I am!  Halfway through the year I am feeling the pressure. Today’s reflections are about an event I attended a few months ago. Unfortunately, there were several negative things that stood out about the evening. As such, I am going to be intentionally vague about the details, but I think the following three blunders can speak for themselves.

Continue reading




Urban Dictionary defines a “Yes Man” as “‘a person who agrees to every opportunity they come across, no matter how crazy it may seem and they do not weigh the consequences.”

I bet you know a fundraiser who fits this description. For development folks, it can be hard to pass up an opportunity, especially when we look at those financial statements every month. After all, our job is basically to raise as much money as possible. But perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned  over the past four years is that oftentimes you need to do less to raise more. Doing a handful of projects really well will usually result in more money and better relationships (not to mention a less stressed you) than a lot of thrown together endeavors.In my experience, it is wise to say NO to the following things:

Continue reading

How to Avoid a Host Committee Mutiny

It’s not that often that a muggle (a non-fundraiser) tells me about a really great fundraising encounter. It’s much more likely that I will hear about an organization that sends too much mail, a boring gala, annoying dinnertime solicitations, etc. The most recent gripe came from someone who was asked to serve on the host committee for a large fundraising event and ended up feeling a little resentful of the process. Given that I am currently working with a host committee of people I do not yet know very well, I was happy to have some insight into the volunteer’s experience.

Continue reading

Notes From the Field

You may recall my professional New Year’s resolution to attend 12 fundraising events in 12 months as a way of forcing myself to push through the burnout. While I have been silent on the topic, rest assured that I have been making good on my promise. I have been thinking about the best way to report back on these experiences, and I have decided to take off my fundraising hat and just reflect on the guest experience. First up is Of Course, a benefit for Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Continue reading

Extend Your Reach Through Community Sponsorships

One of my early on-the-job marketing realizations was the fact that messages spread through webs. Using an event as an example – it isn’t realistic/efficient for me to try to fill all the seats, and that method certainly won’t bring in new people. I will of course invite folks I know who will be interested, and I will use some standard list-servs and event listings, but the real success comes from people who have been identified as entry points to other networks. This could be someone who has a large and targeted Twitter following, a resident in a condo building who can distribute flyers, the curator of a neighborhood e-newsletter, etc.  In my current position at United South End Settlements, this principle has successfully been put into practice with community sponsorships.

Continue reading


If you are working at a small or mid-sized nonprofit, you probably rely heavily on staff, Board members, and volunteers to promote your events and news items on social media. Whether it is an invitation to a fundraising event, a link to press coverage, or a tooting-of-the-horn for an accomplishment, more buzz is always better. You will get the best results, in terms of both quality and quantity, when you provide a cheat sheet.

Continue reading

12 Events in 12 Months

My New Year’s traditions involve falling asleep by 11pm and eating obscene amounts of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. They do not include resolutions. But, this year, with a new job to kick off the new year, I have made a professional resolution.

I am desperately trying to get over a near-fatal case of fundraising event burnout. The events leading up to my diagnosis will fill many other posts. The important topic for today is how I intend to remedy the situation.

Continue reading