Corporate sponsorships can be a great source of income for community choruses and yet, still, some choruses aren't seeking them. Tap into this revenue stream by creating a sponsorship packet, assigning a volunteer to manage corporate sponsors, and reaching out to targeted companies!
Create a Corporate Sponsorship Packet
Before soliciting corporate sponsorships, you'll want to first create a professional digital, print, and/or web piece which lays out the sponsorship levels and benefits that your chorus is offering.
Determine Sponsorship Levels
Sponsorship levels will depend on the size and type of your chorus as well as your operating budget. For example, a non-auditioned community chorus with a $25,000 annual operating budget may decide to only offer sponsorships amounts up to $1,000 whereas an auditioned symphony chorus with an operating budget of over $250,000 may wish to offer sponsorship levels around $20,000 or more.
Here are a few examples of various sponsorship pages for your reference:
- Music City Chorus - up to $1,000
- The Bach Choir of Bethlehem - up to $10,000
- Seattle Choruses - up to $25,000
- Cleveland Orchestra - sponsors up to $300,000
Add Your Sponsor Benefits
When determining benefits for each sponsorship level, ensure that the benefits seem fair based on the funded amount. Sample benefits to offer might include:
- Recognition (name, logo, link) on website
- Recognition in concert program(s)
- Advertising in concert program(s)
- Advertising on website
- Concert tickets or season subscriptions
- Invitations to donor events
- Chorus swag
- On-site advertising or signage
- Recognition in concert announcements or video projections
- Recognition in print materials and advertisements
- Recognition in email marketing
- VIP seating or tickets for special events
Include Information About Your Chorus
In addition to listing out the levels and benefits, you'll also want to include the following information in your corporate sponsorship packet:
- Information about the chorus
- The chorus's mission
- Reasons why a company should sponsor your chorus (see 8 Reasons Why Businesses Should Partner with the Arts for inspiration)
- Statistics on audience size and demographics for standard concerts
- Any community outreach initiatives the chorus does
- How funds will be used to support the chorus
- Chorus contact information to learn more
Soliciting Corporate Sponsorships for Your Chorus
Find a Volunteer
Once you have your corporate sponsorship packet ready, you'll want to assign someone the task of managing the corporate sponsorship program. A board member serving on the development team would be a good choice for the job. This volunteer should identify target companies, manage incoming inquiries, work with sponsors to determine the appropriate level of giving, and ensure that the appropriate perks and gift receipts are delivered to the company.
Work with Marketing to Bring Companies to You
Use your marketing team to your advantage when trying to find corporate sponsors. Have them think through the best way to gather inbound interest in your corporate sponsorship program.
First, set up a landing page and form on your website to capture the contact information of companies interested in sponsoring your chorus. Ensure that any information received from the form is sent to the volunteer managing the corporate sponsorship program and that the contact is automatically entered into their own segmented list in your email marketing platform.
Consider creating different types of content that could direct companies to your new landing page. Perhaps a blog entitled "Why Local Companies Should Support the Arts in [CITY]," a video from a member about what the chorus means to them, or a boosted Facebook post targeted to Directors of Human Resources in your city. Use this content in your email marketing programs, across your website, and on your social channels when appropriate.
And finally, remember to set up a webpage to recognize your corporate sponsors when they do come in!
Reach Out to Companies
When inbound methods don't work, you can always resort to outbound methods.
Start by creating a targeted list of companies in your area who may consider supporting the arts. You can do this by looking trough the websites of well-known companies and reading their mission statements or community giving pages. You can also pull a list of your singers' employers from your member database. Companies with a personal connection to your chorus may be more interested in giving to the organization so this is a good place to start!
As you create the list, add the contact information at each company and assign an "owner." The owner should be the name of the person in your chorus who plans to reach out to the company to solicit the sponsorship.
Finally, decide on the types of communications (emails, phone calls, etc) you'd like to send to each company when soliciting sponsorships. Write up a few sample scripts and circulate to the owners.
Managing Incoming Corporate Sponsors
It is important to have a process in place for obtaining the necessary materials, formulating agreements, and delivering on benefits. The process might look something like this:
- A sponsorship request comes in via the landing page form and contact information is added to your email marketing platform or CRM.
- Chorus owner reviews request and researches company to ensure missions are aligned. If aligned, owner reaches out to company to start communications and attaches the sponsorship packet for more information.
- Chorus owner discusses the company's needs and starts to draft a sample agreement to help them meet their goals. The agreement should specify the amount due, payment deadlines (if applicable), and sponsorship benefits with a timeline for delivery.
- If the company is in agreement, the chorus owner can send instructions for payment. At this point, the donation/pledge should be entered into the donor management system labeled as "Corporate Sponsorship" and associated to the company record.
- Upon receiving funds, the chorus owner should start to coordinate with appropriate teams (such as the chorus's marketing and operations teams) to deliver sponsor's benefits. This may include gathering information from the corporate sponsor as needed such as the company logo file for promotions. The owner should also ensure that the appropriate gift receipts are sent and the donation is tracked appropriately.
Corporate sponsorships aren't just business transactions, they are a chance to start a real relationship with a like-minded organization. The chorus owner should work to include the sponsor into the chorus's community through a series of personal interactions and opportunities to meet the chorus. They should stay in touch regularly with the company to send them information about upcoming concerts and events, to personally invite them to donor receptions, and more. Other opportunities to build a relationship might include:
- Creating exclusive social events for the company and chorus
- Offering concert volunteer opportunities for the company
- Getting chorus members to perform at the company's work events or conferences
- Inviting the company's employees to sing during Summer Sings or to attend a rehearsal
- Helping the company start their own employee choir
- The pARTnership Movement
- GALA Choruses Sample Sponsorship Slide Deck
- Council of Nonprofits Corporate Sponsorship Resources
- Donor Drive - Beyond Sponsorship
Tori Cook is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Chorus Connection. She directs the Harborlight Show Chorus, is President of Chorus pro Musica, and sings with Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Boston. When not making music, she daydreams about adopting a golden retriever puppy and scuba diving to exotic locations around the world.