Nonprofit blog Getting Attention talks about how the The Ryan Andrew Kaiser Memorial Foundation is using email as a sponsorship and event management tool. This has been a big priority for my organization as well. Truthfully, I can't remember the last time I sent out a sponsorship letter!
I'm currently recruiting sponsors for our annual gala and only use email from start to finish. This event raises $1.6 million from a couple hundred sponsors so email has been a great way to communicate with such a large group.
We start by emailing past and potential sponsors a request for support and attach a sponsorship form. Don't get me wrong, sponsors ignore the email as much as they use to ignore the letters we'd send them. The difference is I've only put a tenth of the effort in to communicating with them. For sponsors that do respond, email is a quick and easy way to confirm and acknowledge their gift.
Once we've committed a sponsor, we email them a sponsorship benefits sheet and an invoice. Sponsors appreciate the quick turnaround in confirming their gift. All future communications, including the thank you, are generally done through email. Easy, effective, free: email is the way to go.
For a major special event we have in October, we've moved beyond email and created our first blog. A big problem last year was emailing sponsorship info to prospects. Because of the graphics we used, the files were pretty large. We had trouble sending them and prospects sometimes had trouble opening and forwarding them. Now we just refer potental sponsors to our blog where they can see and download all the info they need. It's also much easier for them to forward the link to a colleague. So far it's worked out very well. Let me know if you have any feedback!