“Why do you want me to be a sponsor?”
That was a question posed to me on one of my follow-up calls for corporate sponsorships. I could tell it was a polite way of asking, “Why should I give you money?”
It is a fair question. You can’t expect business owners to give out of the goodness of their hearts. And the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future aren’t on Taskrabbit. (Though that’s a really good side-hustle idea.)
In reality, to obtain corporate sponsorship for your Madrigal Dinner or Jazz Dinner, businesses want something in return. The good news is you do have something to offer. Businesses want advertising and name recognition (as well as good social media karma). This is something you can offer in creative ways. That’s where sponsorship levels come in.
Here are some sponsorship-level ideas to help bankroll your next dinner theater:
Most events use boring level names like “bronze, silver, and gold” or “levels 1, 2, and 3.” You, however, have an opportunity for memorable names. For instance, the lowest sponsorship level for a Madrigal Dinner could be “Knight Level” or “Baron Level.” If hosting a Jazz Dinner, it could be the “Capo Level” or “Bonnie & Clyde Level.”
This level can range between $100-$500, depending on where you live. We live in the Midwest, so this is an appropriate ask. If your sponsor donates at this level, here are some of the benefits you can offer:
On the performance program, advertise one of the courses as being sponsored by the company. For instance, “First Course Sponsored by Jason Automotive.”
Have a list of sponsors featured on the ticketing website or app, and Knight Level sponsors are highlighted there.
On your social media, have the “12 Days of Corporate Sponsors” leading up to your event. Do a post a day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., highlighting each Knight Level sponsor.
If you are selling roses at your Madrigal Dinner or feather headpieces at your Jazz Dinner, add a tag stating, “Sponsored by [Company Name].”
Publicly thank all the Knight Level sponsors at the start of the show.
For a Madrigal Dinner, this could be called the “Duke Level” or “Marquis Level.” If hosting a Jazz Dinner, this could be the “Underboss Level” or “Baby Face Nelson Level.”
This level should range between $300-$700. If your sponsor donates this amount, offer them all the benefits of Knight Level along with additional perks:
Gift 10 tickets to the company to attend your dinner theater event.
If hosting a Jazz Dinner, the company’s logo is featured on the crates or prop wine bottles.
A “Sponsored by [Company Name]” name card is incorporated into one of the dinner table’s centerpieces.
For a Jazz Dinner, the owner’s picture or company logo is featured on the “Most Wanted” wall.
If hosting a Madrigal Dinner, two of the servants will don “Sponsored by [Company Name]” on the back of their tunics.
For a Madrigal Dinner, this could be the “King Level” or “Monarch Level.” If hosting a Jazz Dinner, this could be the “Boss Level,” “Godfather Level,” or “Scarface Level.”
Keep this level between $500-$1000. Besides including the benefits from the previous levels, here are some additional rewards to include:
The dining hall will feature a tapestry or coat of arms with the company's logo.
The king gives a toast specifically to the Monarch Level sponsors.
For a Jazz Dinner, if you are naming each table after a mafia family, one of the dining tables will be named after the company instead.
A herald will announce each main course as being “Sponsored by [Company Name]” before the food is served.
If the company's owner attends, you can have him/her knighted by the king or blessed by the Godfather.
You have much to offer your corporate sponsors in creative advertising and good social media coverage. So, when sending out your sponsorship letters, lead with how this event can benefit the corporate sponsor’s business. It is way more compelling than “alms for the poor?”
And look for the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future on Taskrabbit, coming to scare a Scrooge near you!