More than 1 million Americans celebrate Lights On Afterschool at 8,000+ events across the country.
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For this year's Lights On Afterschool, youth and parent voices are more important than ever before! Make your event an opportunity to connect with local, state, and federal elected officials by organizing a site visit or hosting an advocacy activity as part of your celebration.
Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their role in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and annually sees more than 1 million Americans celebrate at more than 8,000 events nationwide.
Getting event sponsors can be a great way to help cover the cost of your Lights On Afterschool event. It also gives sponsors a way to show they care about and are involved in the community.
Don't be afraid to ask.
The #1 reason why groups or businesses don’t participate and give money is that no one asked them. Nine out of 10 groups you approach may say “no,” but it’s that one “yes” that counts!
Don't be discouraged by a "No."
Play detective and investigate if “no” means “not right now.” This could be an opportunity to start building a relationship with a potential future funder to find out more about their philanthropic objectives, policies and the key gatekeepers with whom you need to stay in touch.
Pitch to the bottom line.
When compiling your sponsorship levels, remember you're not just asking the sponsor to cover the cost of your event’s budgeted items such as T-shirts, banners, etc. Rather, you're selling a sponsorship package that's worth much more: a direct affiliation with the community; the greatest and most in-demand resource for a corporate sponsor. When possible, specify the projected number of attendees and emphasize the anticipated number and types of impressions that the sponsorship will achieve for the sponsor. For example, if your event draws 500 participants, the sponsor can anticipate 500 impressions by placing its logos on the event programs.
Most businesses and groups have a finite grant/sponsorship budget that they distribute according to a set giving cycle, and your organization is most likely competing with other organizations for those funds. It pays to plan ahead to confirm the potential sponsor’s giving cycle in order to meet their set deadlines.
Band together. Lights On Afterschool is a great opportunity to team up with other local organizations to compete for sponsorships or grants. This team approach will benefit both you and the sponsor: lower costs for maximum exposure.
What's in a name?
Attract potential sponsors with creative media-savvy ways to publicize a partnership with your organization and to increase the number of impressions for sponsors. See our list of 32 Ways to Give Sponsors Exposure at your Lights On Afterschool event for ideas.
Do the leg work.
Offer to do the leg work to generate media (i.e. press release for print, radio and TV) to publicize your sponsor’s role. For more information and tools for working with the media, visit our media outreach page.
Don't forget your thank-yous.
Be sure to personalize your thank-yous! For example, instead of just sending a thank you card, create an “afterschool champion” award ceremony to honor your sponsor’s corporate citizenship and include your organization’s children in the award presentation ceremony. Or, have the children create their own thank you cards for the sponsor.
Always stay in touch.
Be sure to keep the door open for future asks by sending your sponsor periodic updates on your organization.
A business's circumstances and staff can change. It never hurts to try again!