Tips on Running a Lean Event

The best way to fundraise and get sponsors on a shoestring budget.

Lean events rely on sponsorship and fundraising to plan and execute a successful event. To maximize sponsorship dollars, you should be properly prepared to approach potential partners. Follow our advice on running your own lean event and making appropriate sponsorship asks.

Give plenty of lead time

Approach potential partners early in the planning process, so they have plenty of time to work through internal budgeting and determining the cost and benefit to their organization.

If you make the ask too close to the event, it might be an automatic ‘no’ simply because of time restraints.

Approach brands that are aligned with your own

When it comes to approaching partners, you should be valuing Quality over Quantity. It's not worth your time to go after sponsorships with brands or companies
have no interest in your audience or goals. You're going to have much more success aligning with brands that share the same values as your own.

Be specific with your ask

Be ready to tell potential sponsors exactly what you need from them and what they will receive in return before making the ask.

In addition to sharing specifics on the sponsorship, explain the goals, audience, and any other relevant details. Information will be a determining factor in their own decision process.

Be open to customization

You might know exactly what you need from a sponsor, but you don’t know what they will need from you in return. Be open to taking feedback from sponsors and adjusting your plan to fit their goals, within reason.

Companies want a custom experience -- they aren’t looking for a cookie cutter sponsorship. You need to provide a solid place to start with your ask, and only customize to what is financially reasonable for your event and organization. Additional customization should be leverage to ask for additional sponsorship dollars.

Follow through and forge a strong relationship

After you’ve committed a sponsor, make sure and implement everything you have promised. Maximize their value, so that when you need their financial or material assistance again, they will remember how much they benefitted last time and will want to support your organization in the future.

Madi Finley