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The Best Way to Turn Down a Sponsorship Request

My chamber gets a lot of requests from fellow non-profits to sponsor their events or for more free stuff than even we get. While we can definitely appreciate the need and the value, we just can’t accept every request we get.

Fortunately I’ve come up with a great solution: a counter-offer.

I explain the lack of budget (which really, they should understand) and ask if they would instead be interested in an in-kind trade. I ask them to list us as a sponsor if we help promote their event.

Ideally, I already know the value of what they’re asking and offer specific platforms. For example, Facebook posts are so short lived that I see no harm in posting again, so I will always offer it. On the other hand, I find our email list extremely valuable and will very rarely agree to send an email blast.

To help guide my decision, I give them a form for an In-Kind Sponsorship Request.

In it include options for chamber marketing, and place for them to explain what the chamber gets out of it. My goal for this form is for people to expect less handouts, and to come up with mutually-beneficial ideas.

What are your Chamber’s Marketing Platforms?

Task: List out the possible advertisements or services your willing to trade and create prices for them (or at least rank them in how willing you are to offer them). Examples:

  • Event listed on Chamber website
  • News Release on Chamber website
  • Facebook or other social media post
  • Ad in email newsletter
  • Ad in print newsletter
  • Flyer displayed prominently in lobby
  • Email blast
  • Email to chamber press contacts
  • Ad on chamber website
  • Same value sponsorship for your events

If there’s one benefit or advertisement you just really don’t want to give away, then don’t list it on a form you’ll give out. Instead, keep it in your back pocket for that one time you just really want to make it work.

What if they say no?

So what?

You could have just said no. At least you tried to find an alternate solution.

To be fair I think I actually offended someone with my counter offer… 😬 But we really can’t sponsor everyone, and I truly believe in the value of our marketing opportunities.

Free Template

Subscribe to my email list and I’ll send you a free, editable copy of my In-Kind Sponsorship Request Form 👇

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