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Who to target
When deciding on sponsors, separate your targets into different sections based on who can fill a particular need for your business. This allows you to split the workload between the team and effectively manage your approach to companies.
Begin by doing your research thoroughly on the organisation, which pro bono or community projects do they run? Which events have they sponsored in the past and are they likely to sponsor events like MUN? Produce a case file for individual sponsors on their suitability, so that you can prioritise which companies to approach and put maximum effort into tailoring a personal pitch.
Once an order is established and a plan for each company created, ensure that you have the contact details for the person with the decision making authority. Sending an email to info@companyX, will leave you caught in the endless chain of unsolicited mail. Your idea needs to reach the person who matters and make an immediate impact.
If you have the phone number of the person responsible, I would recommend phoning as it creates the immediate personal relationship, politely giving a brief overview of your project and asking whether you could send on a more detailed and crucially personalised proposal, or arrange to meet them. During this call, to keep their attention drop in the occasional fact you have from the research on their company to show you’re above the countless requests for money. If you prefer to email, make sure the email is a personalised letter, don't be afraid to follow it up later either with a call to remind them of your interest.
Finally, if you’re stuck for inspiration and seeking a big financial backer to fund your lofty MUN aspirations, then don’t try reinventing the wheel. Research other conferences and see who their sponsors are, non-MUN events, including politics and careers fairs at your universities are also brilliant places to begin your research. If you can identify companies already interested in student organisations, this overcomes one of the initial barriers to creating a business relationship with prospective sponsors.
Thinking outside the box
One of the recurring complaints for MUNs is for those who do not provide tea / coffee and lunches. Understandably this is a luxury which some cannot afford, but instead of asking for xxx Euros from a local supermarket, personalise the request, with a deal for discounted or even free lunch provisions or coffee from a local supermarket. In exchange many supermarkets will have ‘community initiatives’ that create PR opportunities for them, examples including local disability centres, or youth centres which soften the image of the company, that if the organising committee promise to help with, may win reward from sponsors.
Also don't be afraid to ask for help! Most Universities will have an investment or economics society, or an Enterprise Department, these often unexplored resources could have the skills and contacts to help you earn potentially lucrative sponsorship deals.
Remember that sponsorship can come in many different forms, it may take many rejections before you are successful and it is all about demonstrating what you can do for the sponsor. This benefit will change depending on who you target, so remember to be flexible in your proposals, stating 'it's an international conference with a big audience' when you actually have 100 people coming from 5 countries won't persuade many people. Personalise, personalise, personalise.