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Special Event Planners Identify Sponsorship Categories for Fundraising Events

Sponsorship Categories for Y-ME Mother’s Day Walks Highlights as Best Practice

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Although organizing such an event may sound like “fun” to some, there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into planning a community fundraising event. And, keeping an eye on the bottom line, event planners must stay focused on creating value for event sponsors, which underwrites a significant portion of event costs and funds raised.

Sponsors also play a critical role in the ongoing success and expansion of community walks, explains Liz Klug, director of special events for the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization. Y-ME established its first walk in 1991 and has expanded the event to 15 cities for 2008.

”I think that there are many reasons why sponsors get involved,” Klug explains. “Special event planners need to recognize those hot buttons: some participate to gain employee engagement, some are there to brand build, some want to extend sampling opportunities, some want their executives in front of an audience, and some want an activity where they can get in front of the media.”

Sponsors are also interested in the demographic of who will participate in the event, and determining the best method of getting their message in front of those folks. Y-ME and other organizations hosting a community event also know the important role of media visibility, pricing, and use of event logo rights.

Sponsor fees usually cover the operating budget of the event – 25-30%.

Sponsorship Categories

Y-ME has established three categories for national sponsorships for the Walk to Empower program, which includes a full range of visibility on all marketing, advertising, promotional and event levels (excluding booth sponsorship level). They include:

  • National Presenting Sponsor ($250,000, maximum of 3)
  • National Official Sponsor ($100,000)
  • Multi-Market Booth Sponsor ($1,750 to $4,000 per site)

Most event planners limit the number of top category sponsors. As a point of reference, national presenting sponsors of the Y-ME walks include McDonald’s, sanofi-aventis and Walgreens. And national official sponsors include Bumble Bee, Grant Thornton, Pfizer Oncology and United Airlines.

Y-ME has established five categories for local sponsorships (select city location to see sponsorship package details). Packages start as low as $2,000 and go as high as $65,000 (for local sponsorship) depending upon the market. They include:

  • Local Presenting Sponsor
  • Local Official
  • Local Co-Sponsor
  • Local Supporting
  • Local Booth

One of the most desired benefits that all sponsors hope to secure with their sponsorship is category exclusivity, and community event organizers such as Y-ME certainly understands that request. However, it is usually tied to the higher levels of sponsorship, and that’s also the case with the Y-ME Walk to Empower events. Event sponsorship at the Y-ME walks breaks down as follows:

Common Benefits Included in Sponsorships

  • Logo inclusion on event marketing materials.
  • Right to use event logos.
  • Logo inclusion on the cause’s event website.
  • Recognition at all event meetings and ceremonies.
  • Dedicated team area for walk day program.

Value-Added Benefits for Higher Sponsorship Levels

  • Logo visibility on walk-t-shirts.
  • Banner place at walk site.
  • Right to exclusive sponsorship of a related program activity.
  • Speaking opportunities for company representative at ceremonies.

Exclusive Benefits for Top Level Sponsors

  • Category exclusivity at their respective level.
  • Right to exclusive sponsorship of a related program activity.
  • Speaking opportunities for company representative at ceremonies.
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