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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

6 Things to Consider When Selecting a Nonprofit Event Sponsor Prospect


Nonprofit Development Officers are busy people who are often pulled in many different directions. How they spend their time is very important and is linked to the decisions they make.

Making a not-so-good decision leads to wasting time. Making great decisions leads to revenue development and a great ROI on task-to-time spent on a project.

The Decision is Yours!

As a Development Officer, the decision on who to spend time with when selling sponsorships to important nonprofit events is important. And it is yours!

Here are six things to consider when selecting prospects to pursue:

1. Dollar Potential

Would the prospect be able to invest a significant amount of money if they were motivated to do so? Could they donate like your best sponsors and contributors or is their revenue potential so limited they could not become a major event sponsor?

2. Access and Credibility

Can you gain access to the decision maker, key decision influencers, or the major donor? Can you gain credibility in their eyes? In some organizations, and with some people, it’s virtually impossible to get the access and credibility you need. In others, whether they be a partner or donor, it’s a breeze.

3. Mission Fit

Is it likely the prospect has needs that match up with your organization’s mission? How closely matched is your donor base to their consumer base? Is there a significant amount of common ground from demographic and consumer habit perspectives?

4. Value-added Fit

This other kind of fit is just as important. From what you can tell, will the prospect value the things you bring beyond access to your constituency? Will they invest more for the things you do better than other nonprofits? Will they appreciate your ideas, attention to detail, and focus on ROI?

5. Leverage

If you were successful in converting this prospect, would it open the door to lots of other revenue development opportunities for you? Could you leverage that success into other successes deeper in the sponsor's organization or into a similar organization? Could it be a source of referrals and recommendations? Would successful dealings with this prospect put you on a fast learning curve so that you’d be better able to handle a similar prospect?

6. Your Personal Reasons and Your Personal Feelings

What factors create the ideal donor or sponsor for you personally? Think about personality, values, work style, types of needs to be filled, industry preferences, specialized knowledge, and experience. Your personal conviction about targeting this prospect is an important factor in improving your chances of success.

The Evaluation Process

Feel free to use the six items listed above when selecting donor or sponsor prospect for your next major nonprofit event. Here’s a process to follow:

  •   List the names of 20-25 prospects.
  •   Evaluate each prospect using the six items listed above.
  •   Assign a grade or rating of each prospect based on all six items.
  •   The prospects that sore the best (perhaps the top 5) will be the best prospects to pursue.

Stop wasting time with prospects who do not have the ability to become major donors to your keystone events. You’ll be happier and more productive in the long run!

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Topics: Sales