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Income prediction & price setting for special events

Section: Blog

Annual events build community and raise critical, unrestricted income. But how can an organization effectively set sponsorship levels, predict revenue and plan for income?

If this is a new event, start with a little research into organizations of a similar size and geography. What types of sponsorships do they offer for their events? You’d be surprised how much information is available online. While it’s hard to determine if their event fundraising goals were actually met, it can still be a good indication of what your specific market will bear.

Katherine DeFoyd, Founding Partner of Growth for Good, a nonprofit consulting firm advises that 80% of your income will likely come from 20% of the top prospects. DeFoyd recommends creating a chart, such as below, to calculate how many gifts are required at each level to meet your organization’s goal.

DeFoyd advises, “It is critical to identify at least three prospects for every gift needed at every level.” Each identified prospect must possess either a previous history of giving at the desired level or a close personal relationship with one of the event honorees, chairs, or board members.

When establishing sponsor levels, it’s okay to have one or two levels that are truly a reach, says Karen Perry, President of Event Journal. She has observed that large donors often gravitate toward the second highest level, so she recommends bumping up the value of the second level. Perry says, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”

Be very clear and specific in the way you establish your sponsor levels. The highest levels with the most benefits should be promoted first. Try to offer some kind of unique, value-added benefits for top-level sponsors – something that will tie in with their business objective. At every level, benefits should be clearly spelled out. You may also wish to offer advertising alone, for those who wish to support your organization, but cannot attend the event. There should also be a level available for young professionals — a great way to cultivate young donors.

Remember to reach out to all past attendees, even if they attended to support a specific honoree. Your organization’s mission may have resonated with them and they may wish to stay involved. So don’t assume otherwise and pass them over.