5 Steps to Find Sponsors for Your Challenge Events

Students from coast to coast are holding their spring fundraisers for the student-led VCU-Marquette Challenge. One way to boost an events success is through sponsorship. Recently, students from New York University (NYU), shared their tips on acquiring sponsors. NYU has secured 19 different sponsors for their recent events, raising over $4,000 in monetary donations and over $3,700 in product donations.

NYU PT students offered these 5 tips for finding sponsors for Challenge events.

  1. Get Organized with Finding & Tracking Sponsors

Create a spreadsheet of past and potential sponsors. Include the company name, contact information, date contacted and follow up notes. Potential sponsors could be anywhere. For additional sponsor ideas, post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Speak to each cohort’s class asking for sponsorship or ideas for  companies that may be interested. Reach out to friends, family and alumni. Reach out to companies and brands that benefit the profession and/or may benefit from the event itself (e.g. fitness studios for a 5K). Businesses are often asked (and often eager) to support local communities, so don’t be afraid to ask!

  1. Create a Sponsorship Letter

    Your letter should include:

  • An Opening Message: This should include a description of the Marquette Challenge, description of the events that their company will be recognized at, and an inquiry for sponsorship.
  • “What’s in it for me?”: List the number of followers on social media pages or stats from previous events to show that the sponsors get exposure to potential new buyers in addition to recognition. If all you have is the number of students and faculty, it’s still something to say you’ll get your name out to this number of stakeholders in our profession.
  • Description of Sponsorship Tiers: We have Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum (e.g. Platinum = $1,000 donation). Each tier includes the donation needed to qualify for that tier and how their brand will be recognized (social media posts, logo on 5K T-shirts, website).
  • Include Options for Donations: It does not have to be monetary! Donations can be in the form of gym memberships, energy drinks, or gift cards. These items make great prizes or raffle items for event participants.
  • Provide Options for Methods of Payments: This could be in the form of a check, Venmo, or Zelle
  • Attach a Return Form: Form should include: contact information and chosen sponsorship tier. Be sure to get a company logo image file to use in recognition, too.
  1. Create an Email Template

    Create email templates for different companies (i.e. past sponsors, future sponsors or sponsors that were referred to you). If your school has the resources, split up the work with your marketing team and have them reach out to the sponsors with the appropriate email template and sponsorship letter.  Update the excel sheet in Step 1 to ensure everyone is on the same page.

  2. Follow up

    Speak with companies on the phone. Explain the benefits of the Marquette Challenge and the importance of their donation to FPTR to encourage sponsorship.Talking points can be found at marquettechallenge.com.

  3. Do Not Give Up!

    Don’t give up even when companies do not respond— keep sending emails and making phone calls! As you begin to build your school’s Marquette Challenge events, your list of sponsors will continue to grow year after year.

Once you’ve secured your partners, be sure to thank them. Use social media to acknowledge them before, during, and after events and send a follow up letter acknowledging their gift after the event.

What are you waiting for? Get more tools and resources you need to make this year a challenge like no other!

Thanks to NYU for this post! See what they’re up to on Twitter.

The Marquette Challenge is a grassroots, student-led fundraising effort that supports the mission of the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR). Each year, hundreds of physical therapist (PT) and physical therapist assistant (PTA) students, with the support of their program directors and community, hold fundraising events across the United States.


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