The Ins and Outs of Sponsorship for Churches

May 31, 2006 by

I was browsing the web site for T.D. Jakes’ 2006 MegaFest Conference and noticed something quite interesting: Coca-Cola, Pine-Sol and Clorox have signed on as sponsors of the larger than life event.

On the heels of the blockbuster success of Christian-based projects such as The Passion of The Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia and Joel Osteen’s New York Times bestseller Your Best Life Now, is corporate America finally starting to recognize the importance of targeting Christian consumers on an ongoing basis? Are corporate bigwigs grasping the fact that just like regular folks, Christians eat, sleep, go to the movies, clean our homes, purchase cars and engage in other normal activities on a daily basis?

As corporate interest in Christian consumers intensifies, recruiting a corporation to support your next ministry event could result in a win-win opportunity for your ministry and your sponsorship partner. Sponsorships are a great way to offset the costs associated with producing your event, while also providing businesses an opportunity to promote its products/services to an engaged audience.

Sponsorship can also be a way to cloud your message, encourage consumerism or at the very least allow your church to be labeled a sellout, whether or not the description is fair.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when planning your sponsorship activities:

Does Sponsorship Work For Our Church?
This is the big question, and obviously, the first question. Some people are already sneering at the thought of church sponsorship. If this attitude is prevalent in your church, any kind of sponsorship probably isn’t going to go over too well. Different people have different takes on this, and that’s OK. But you need to know where your church stands.

Where is Sponsorship Appropriate?
The next big question is when is sponsorship appropriate? We’re not suggesting a NASCAR makeover with sponsors on the front of the pulpit, patches on your ushers’ suits and a sermon punctuated with thanks to a number of corporations. Sponsorship works best and is most appropriate for special events, like T.D. Jakes’ MegaFest, where significant costs make some sort of outside funding necessary and it’s distanced enough from your core worship service that it won’t co-opt your message. Consider when people would be offended by a corporate sponsor and when it would be accepted.

Remember Who You’re Representing
It’s safe to say that approaching an alcoholic beverage company or a cigarette manufacturer to sponsor your next ministry event is probably not a bright idea. When narrowing your sponsorship targets, conduct a thorough background search on the company’s product/service offerings, its business philosophy and recent community involvement. Remember, the primary goal of your event is to glorify God. Selecting the wrong sponsor could hinder this goal, and damage the reputation of your ministry.

Draft a sponsorship package
Drafting a sponsorship package that clearly outlines the specifics of your event and its associated sponsorship opportunities is a critical part of the sponsorship process. Your sponsorship package should include:

  • Sponsorship Prices
    A number of variables contribute to setting sponsorship prices. You can set your sponsorship prices by price/level (i.e. gold, silver, platinum); need (i.e. food sponsor, beverage sponsor); session (i.e. keynote sponsor, concert sponsor, etc.) or other criteria. When drafting your proposal, take into account the costs and needs of your event, and set your prices accordingly.
  • Event/Attendee Description
    You are more likely to secure a quality sponsor if the purpose of your event, and its target attendees, aligns with your sponsor’s brand identity. Clearly outline the purpose of your event. For example, a dating service might be an ideal sponsor for a singles’ event. If your event focus is on a health-related topic like diabetes or cancer prevention, your area pharmacy or doctor’s office may be interested in partnering with you.
  • Visibility
    While reaching attendees at your event is a top priority for corporations, as sponsor, businesses also desire visibility before, during and after the event. Be clear about what kind of visibility sponsoring your event would offer. Signage throughout the event location (usually posted in high visibility areas), logo placement on marketing materials, web banner ads, opportunities to distribute promotional items and a press release announcing the sponsor’s participation in the event are also all standard ways to give sponsors visibility. Though it’s good to use your sponsorship package as a guide, always be willing to come up with something creative.

Short-term Business Partner
Be sure to keep your sponsor in the loop about changes to your event. A sponsor is essentially a short-term business partner. They have a vested interest in the success of your event, and need to be informed about any major changes.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind when selecting a sponsor for your next ministry event. As interest in Christian consumers continues to gain momentum, don’t be afraid to approach a local or national corporation about sponsoring your upcoming event, assuming it fits with your church and your event. The MegaFest conference shows that if you’re offering a worthwhile event and a solid attendee base, a quality sponsor will be sure to follow.

Post By:

Kristina Hill

Kristina Hill works in public affairs for a Christian ministry in Charlotte, N.C. She holds a master's degree in marketing communications and thinks that Church Marketing Sucks is one of the coolest, in-your-face, church outreach tools on the planet!
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13 Responses to “The Ins and Outs of Sponsorship for Churches”

  • Christian Web Trends
    May 31, 2006

    Too… many… jokes…
    The pastor walks up to the podium and smiles, “Good morning and welcome to the Starbucks 9 AM service at Fed Ex Christian Church brought to you by Mr. Clean – now that your sins are washed away, wash away that ring in your toilet with Mr. Clean. Before we start our service I’d like to remind you that the Oxiclean youth ministry is having a lock-in Friday night, the Viagra men’s ministry is meeting for breakfast Saturday morning, and the Depends seniors ministry will be playing bingo Thursday evening. After the service, before you head out to the Toyota parking lot be sure to pick up this month’s newsletter printed by Kinkos, the official printing company of Fed Ex Christian Church.”

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    • Prophet Eric
      June 7, 2014


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  • Gene Mason
    May 31, 2006

    Excuse me… my conflict-of-interest alarm just went off. Now I’m not crazy enough to openly rag on a corporation like Starbucks, because heaven knows I owe them my ability to be conscious between the hours of 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. every day for the last decade, but…
    This kind of thing really has a tendency to muddy the core message (gospel). I’m not sure that getting in bed with a corporation would be worth the money if I lost some of the purity of the message along the way.

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  • The commercialization of ministry?

    The first image that comes to mind was Jesus overturning the tables in the temple

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  • Bene D
    June 7, 2006

    “Our mission is to frustrate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ.”
    This post a parody or joke isn’t it?

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  • Bene Diction
    June 8, 2006

    Hi Kristina:
    I see you are a guest, my apologies for my startle response.
    If you are in marketing, I suspect you are developing a thick skin.
    I know what I feel reading this, and re-reading this – a sorrow deeper than words. I’m having trouble finding words for what I think.
    In fairness, you have merely provided a how to post, because the reality is churches want the money, corporations want a return on their investment and it’s perceived by the players as win-win. Everyone else is doing it and what is one more lucrative market after all?
    You’re just providing an effective receipe for the ones that want to pile on and a startle response isn’t going to change a thing.:^(

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  • Rev. J.M.Mahlalela
    January 31, 2008

    Iam a man of God with a great desire to reach to the unreached souls. I need all the help to reach out.

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  • darpen masih
    March 23, 2010

    Dear,pastor praise the Lord
    I am a church Evangelist I am looking for some supportes who willingly support our cause to carry on our visin among North Indians . I am a Hindu Convert who accepted Christ as saviour in the year 1995 and I am working among Punjabi Hindus. I have a vision to start a new ministry registered with the Government rules. I am looking for someone to help me to carry it in and pls pray for me,and help me.who will help me
    Pls, give me help some money for starting a new church in the non-christan people.
    I am short of money these days. Kindly keep this in mind and send us your reply as guided by the Holy Spirit
    With much regards and blessings to you all
    I shall be thankful to you.
    With much love .
    .your’s in christ
    Darpen masih

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  • Minister rob
    August 3, 2011

    I believe that the church functions should be supported by every one including corporations we don’t know who life this is going to touch and the corporation you ask for the money may very well get them and there family saved and others as well the work of God can not be put in a box and only select people can be a part anyone can be a part of the work of God

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  • JD
    October 5, 2012

    I love this idea. I work with a Christian radio station that is also a commercial station. And businesses are looking for the “church family” demo to reach out to. If a corporation is actually willing to give to a church and their values line up with the Word, so be it. Many church attendees have slowed down on tithing, and though that is what should be taught the Lord can work through other avenues to provide the income needed to keep the doors open. His ways are higher than our ways. So, if He wants to bless a church through a corporation, praise God!

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  • davidkham
    October 29, 2012

    Dear Pastor;

    I’m a church founder and pastor of Olive Christian Church in Myanmar or Burma.
    We stard this church on 2007 April , 8 with three woman.

    By the grace of God today our church members 70 over. As we sharing the Gospel
    among non believers than many problems. Therefor may I requires about your pray.

    Thanks !
    David Kham

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  • rieff01
    September 2, 2013

    I see why people call it the megamess!!! It a plethora of secular and religious organizations and entertainment. It has litttle to do with the fuctions of the Holy Spirit, Corporate are going to look after there interest of investors, not to seek and save those that are lost.

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