How do you obtain a sponsorship?

My company throws different events throughout the year and gives a large percentage of the proceeds to charity. It is a great opportunity for companies going after the same demographics that we aim at. But how do I obtain sponsorship from large companies? How do I assure them I'm not trying to rip them off?
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Getting an event sponsored is like selling any other sort of advertising. The prospective sponsor needs to feel that the opportunity you're presenting is the highest and best use of their limited resources. It's not just a matter of whether they feel you're trying to "rip them off." It's a matter of cost vs. reward. Are you merely offering to put up a couple of banners at the event and include the sponsor's name on the invitations, or will there be advertising in mass media? How will the sponsor be recognized in these ads? How big is the event? Is it an important, annual event or is it a party you threw on a whim? Will the sponsor have opportunity to interact with your guests at the event? Display new products? Keep in mind that large companies are presented with these sorts of sponsorship opportunities on a regular basis. It's usually the established, important events that get sponsored. Do a little investigating and you'll learn that smaller events are usually sponsored by friends and family in high places. If Uncle Harvey owns the local Pepsi bottling plant it's not hard to get Pepsi as a sponsor because Uncle Harvey has discretionary funds for this sort of thing. Take a look at your "warm contacts." Do you have an Uncle Harvey?

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