Supporters, sponsors, non-material support
 The difference between sponsoring and support
If you want to show commitment, you need partners who appreciate this. Sponsoring and support are very different things in this context.
Whereas the idea of support is often built on philanthropy, that is, charity, sponsoring means a form of cooperation that includes mutual benefit.
A sponsor does not contribute money out of pure charity but expects a specific service in return: The project is expected to increase the sponsor’s profit. If you want to acquire organizations as sponsors, you have to check if the project is attractive for sponsors. A typical example for sponsoring can be found above. One party is in need of money, the other wants to advertise and considers the project an adequate platform.
 Neutral: Supporter
Since the motivations of financiers are often unclear, it is recommended to use the term “supporter” in own texts. However, foundations clearly belong to supporters, because they often support projects without expecting a service in return. The funding guidelines of foundations are decisive for their support. For their support they often give priority to non-profit purposes instead of economical considerations.
 Finding out about local conditions
The terms support and sponsoring may be connoted differently in your countries. Before getting in touch with organizations you should check if they attach importance to such a distinction. If this is not the case, you should still consider the divergent expectations that the distinction implies. A sponsor, for example, will expect a service in return – be it a slogan on your homepage or the distribution of flyers during your event.
 Other forms of support
Aside from financial aids by supporters like foundations, there are also other useful forms of support for your project: payments in kind (rooms for free that others have to pay for or contributions in kind such as bread rolls or paper) as well as immaterial support (consulting, involvement, private relief). The positive effect of these forms of support is that they arouse many different people’s interest in the project – people who would otherwise only read about it in the newspaper, if at all. Thus it is not mistaken to claim that the best project is the one, which was realized without money but with the support of thousands of aides. Moreover, they are easier to attract. Many persons that could support you live in your close environment, both private and public. The example shows how a project team has tried to identify potential supporters. Methods for gathering ideas: mindmap or brainstorming
 Sponsoring is not always the best possibility
In view of the circumstances that often prevail in volunteer work it is not always effective to consider sponsoring cooperations with multinational corporations. The schedules of large companies often take a long view. Or they may consider the expected marketing benefit as insufficient – either because too many partners are involved and the company desires a more exclusive position. Or because the goals of the project do not fit their marketing concept. What also happens sometimes is that a sponsoring attitude turns into an ideational attitude, according to the motto: It does not fit into our marketing concept, but it doesn’t cost much and it’s still good for the image, because the goal of the project is honorable. For the fundraisers this means the following: Be aware of the other side’s intentions and do not talk at cross purposes.
 How to proceed?
Among a plenitude of possibilities for support you have to find the right one(s): Which foundation, which organization, which company or which person could be interested in supporting your project? There is more than the internet in order to find out about this. Personal contacts to representatives of such organizations or to other people, who have already realized a project with the formers’ support, are worth a mint for your preparations. It is very important that you obtain as many specific data about the organization’s ‘support profile‘ as possible. The more you know, the more precise your application will be. Applications that do not fit the organization’s profile will often be rejected right away. More: Writing a project proposal