Exchange sponsors, a silent auction contributor who is represented by your regular sponsor, is an out-of-the-box strategy to acquire exciting auction items.
It’s a tactic that allows you to establish new relationships, as you strengthen your ties with current sponsors. But what can exchange sponsors offer a silent auction that your regular sponsors haven’t already generously given?
Who are “exchange sponsors”?
Exchange sponsors typically do not have a direct relationship with your nonprofit. Instead, they usually have something in common with a current sponsor. Perhaps they are tourist activities located in different regions of the country, or a business that is compatible with your current sponsor’s business. They may be found through established relationships, or you may find you are starting at the beginning of a new one, but you’ll often find that their auction gifts go far beyond what you’ve been able to acquire in the past.
Benefits of working with an exchange sponsor
The great thing about working with an exchange sponsor is that it benefits everyone involved. Your current and exchange sponsors gain from the advertising they receive at the auction, your silent auction donors get to bid on new auction items, and your nonprofit receives more fundraising dollar, drive bid competition, and reduce consignment costs—all while establishing new relationships that can last for years.
Going after an exchange sponsor
Working with exchange sponsors takes a few extra steps and, perhaps, a bit more prep work to eventually cementing a relationship.
First, you need to explain the need for new auction items to the sponsors you’ve worked with for years. Be ready to thank them again for all the years they’ve offered their own products and services and assure them their relationship with your organization continues to be important, and present the data to prove your auction guests are needing new items to bid on.
Next, you’ll need to explain to your sponsor that, while their gift is valuable and much appreciated, it has been offered in the auction for several years and it is time to add something unexpected to dazzle the audience. Be prepared with data that proves it’s time to make a change and points to what your donors are wanting to bid on. This will lay out where you should focus your attention to find exchange donors. Then turn to your current sponsors to find out where they want exposure for their business and look for the matches that make the most sense.
Offer value for your current sponsor
Assure your current sponsor that their business will be named as the sponsor, and the exchange sponsor will be viewed as partnering with them to present the auction item. Work with your exchange sponsor to work out a trade for your sponsor with a nonprofit in their area. If your sponsor needs more convincing, offer them the opportunity to have a representative from their business present the item at the auction to give them more exposure.
Exploring new avenues to acquire silent auction items by establishing relationships with exchange sponsors can open unforeseen doors of opportunity that will benefit everyone involved. If you find your auction items are losing the interest of donors, consider an exchange sponsorship to revive your auction and strengthen your already great relationships with current sponsors.