Prospecting and Scoring Event Sponsorships for Your Nonprofit

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Need new sponsors to lift up an existing fundraising event? Looking for nonprofit event sponsorship? Then you’ll need to master the art of prospecting sponsors and scoring them before you approach them for a sponsorship ask. Read on to learn how to find prospective sponsors and how to score them effectively so you can pursue corporate donations with confidence. 

  1. What is sponsor prospecting and scoring and why does it matter?
  2. How to prospect for new sponsors
  3. How to score your new sponsors
  4. How to pursue prospective sponsors
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What is sponsor prospecting and scoring and why does it matter?

Sponsor prospecting is your nonprofit’s ability to find new potential sponsors to support your fundraising events. Your ability to identify potential sponsors is important to the financial health of your nonprofit organization. Being able to form meaningful relationships with these potential sponsors can mean a good source of funding for future fundraising events or even for your cause directly.  

Scoring your prospects is an important step in the sponsor stewardship process. Scoring a prospect is how you determine how much they can afford to give so you can decide how much to ask for. Different organizations have different sponsorship donation amounts they can give. If you can, find out how much they typically give and match them to a similar sponsorship level.

How to prospect for new sponsors

If you’ve exhausted your list of current sponsors and need to add additional sponsors for your fundraising events, then it’s time to start prospecting. But how do you find new sponsors? First, it helps to start by figuring out where you have an in. Ask staff members and members of your board if they know people at any nearby businesses that you haven’t asked for sponsorship from already. Having a connection can go a long way in securing sponsorships for your cause. 

Another great option is to network with other nonprofit organizations and ask them who sponsors their fundraising events. This can inform you of businesses that you haven’t thought of that other nonprofits have used to secure sponsorship. You can also ask them about the sponsorship request process to determine how easy it will be to secure funding from these potential sponsors. 

Another option is to Google businesses in your area and make a list of organizations that offer sponsorships. Oftentimes, businesses will have sponsorship information somewhere on their websites. Even if they don’t, don’t count them out. There may still be a chance that they offer sponsorships if you reach out.  

But before you reach out, be sure you score your potential new sponsors. 

How to score your new sponsors

Once you’ve prospected and made a list of potential sponsors, it’s time to score them to determine how much, if any, they’re likely to give to your nonprofit organization as part of their nonprofit event sponsorship. You can start by researching what they’ve given to other nonprofit organizations in the past. Sometimes what they’ve given is available on the company’s website. Other times, this information is hard to find and would have to come from the nonprofit itself.  

Another tactic you can use to score your prospective sponsors is to look at how much revenue they generate and categorize each sponsor based on their revenue. The greater the revenue, the greater likelihood for larger sponsorships. For organizations with a smaller revenue, a smaller sponsorship is more likely. Once you’ve categorized the businesses, award priority to those companies where you have a connection. It’s hard to cold call and get sponsors, so it’s better to start with a warm call and reach out to someone who knows about your nonprofit organization already. 

From there, proceed down the list from highest level sponsors to lowest level sponsors.  

How to pursue prospective sponsors

When asking for donations from companies, it’s imperative to approach them with a proposal rather than an appeal. Businesses need to know they’ll see a return on investment when sponsoring an event for a nonprofit organization. Instead of letting them know how they can help you, your first priority should be explaining how sponsoring your event will help them. What will you provide in return for a sponsorship? Put together a prospective attendees list and know the demographics of those who will be in attendance. Is there any overlap between your attendees and the sponsor’s target demographic? If so, let them know that! How will you share the news that they’re sponsoring? This can vary based on giving level, but it’s important to have a plan to market your sponsors and let everyone know who is supporting your nonprofit event. 

It helps to schedule a meeting with prospective sponsors and share your proposal with them, presenting all of the giving options available to them and what they’ll receive as benefits at each giving level. However, if you can’t arrange a meeting in a timely way, ask if you can send a sponsorship letter with your proposal information. With a letter, you can still introduce yourself and ask for sponsorship despite not being able to meet in person. 

Some businesses have automated their sponsorship requests and won’t accept proposals outside of their system. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete sponsorship requests via these systems and make a good case for support.  


Finding and recruiting new sponsors takes time and effort. But it’s worth it for new nonprofit event sponsorship. That said, you’ll want to give yourself months in advance to recruit new sponsors for your cause. Don’t rush in without prospecting and properly scoring your potential sponsors.

Once you’ve made your prioritized list, pursue sponsors by first calling and trying to arrange a meeting to share your sponsorship proposal. Then, attend that meeting and confidently explain how sponsoring you will benefit the business you’ve reached out to. If you can’t arrange a meeting, send a sponsorship request letter that details these benefits, tells a good story, and encourages them to take part in your event. If all else fails, request a sponsorship through their corporate sponsorship request form. Your ability to tell good stories may be limited, so be sure to succinctly share why they should sponsor you if the opportunity arises. 

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